The Library Stack

Continuing my ongoing series, The Library Stack,  and sharing my latest stack of borrowed books from my beloved local public library.

Before I left for my trip to NYC for Quilters Take Manhattan (see my recent posts), a HUGE stack of library books from my library holds all became available at once:

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Okay, they didn’t all become available at once from my books on hold, there were a couple I happened to pick off the New Releases Non Fiction shelves while I was at the library…I can’t help it if they deliberately tempt me when I visit my local public library!

I am nearly done with this stack and several were a good “flip-the-pages-look-book” while working on a pot of tea. The interiors in The Kinfolk Home (which I borrowed a second time from the library) and Hidden Paris were just dreamy!

There were so many cute quilts to make in the book Charm School and I have many sets of 5″ charm squares just begging to become a quilt, but I have so many projects on the burner I couldn’t be tempted to make any quilts from the book. But it will be waiting for me at the library when I am ready!

The Crafters Market and How to Make It are  great resource books for people trying to start or running a craft business. The Fussy Cut Sampler had adorable ideas for fussy cut pieced blocks.

Kaffe Fassett’s Quilts in Ireland was visual colorful candy; but I own a bunch of Kaffe Fassett books and I have yet to make a quilt from one of them. I did meet Kaffe Fassett a couple of years ago when he came to speak at the Stitchin’ Post in Sisters Oregon. So I had him autograph one of  my ‘Kaffe’ books, but I did not confess that I have never made a quilt from one of his books! His fabrics are so beautiful and I actually have a huge collection of Kaffe Fassett fabric scraps that quilting friends have given me.

I still have a couple books to finish looking through (those I have not mentioned) and then back to the library for everyone!


Postscript

No work on my next art quilt yet, but I did have a colleague inquire about purchasing one of my tierneycreates table runners from when I had my tierneycreates Etsy shop. I had one more left and sold it to her.

This prompted me to play with the idea in my mind of re-opening my tierneycreates Etsy shop for the holiday season, but I have not decided yet. I did though decide to work on a couple new table runners, beginning with one I had started but never finished  – now it is finished.

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I have a stash of tierneycreates sew on labels from when I had my Etsy shop, so it was great to use them again:

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My employer is having a holiday craft fair in Portland in November and I am also sort of toying with the idea of participating in that. It would be my first time to sell at a craft fair.

Till next time,

Fusing Textiles & Smiles

 

Wrap Up of QTM 2017 Weekend

This is my fourth and final installment on my 4-day weekend in NYC to visit my family and to attend the Quilt Alliance’s Quilters Take Manhattan (QTM) event.

Here are the links to the first three previous posts on my weekend:

To close out this series of posts I have a bunch of random photos and stories.

Small World!

I remembered that my blogging buddy, Mary of Zippy Quilts announced in one of her post \s that she won the Judge’s Choice Award in the Quilt Alliance’s small quilt challenge. for the QTM 2017 event. Here is a link to her post: Judge’s Choice! Woo!

So on Saturday at the main QTM 2017 event, I went searching for the exhibit. When I found the exhibit with Mary’s piece, I noted another attendee was taking photos of the piece.

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Turns out that attendee was Becca of Pretty Piney, another blogging buddy of Mary’s! It was great to chat with Becca and together we admired Mary’s piece in person:

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Congratulations Mary! Oh and here is Becca’s post from her blog on her experiences at QTM 2017: Quilters Take Manhattan 2017.

Go Ahead and Look Out the Window

Flying makes me slightly nervous. When I moved from Seattle to Central Oregon I had to acclimate to taking smaller planes. Our airport is small and cannot handle standard size planes/jets, just the Turboprop size planes, like the one in the image below:

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Photo credit: Alaska Airlines

These planes only climb to about 10,000 feet unlike jets which having cursing altitudes of 30,000 – 40,000 feet. So you have at many times a view of the ground when you are at cruising altitude in these planes as opposed to in the larger planes where all you see are clouds below you at cruising altitude.

In order to fly to the East Coast of the US, I had to first fly to Seattle (usually you have to fly to Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, LA or Salt Lake City to get anywhere beyond the West Coast from Central Oregon). Normally I do not look out of the window as a rule. I had a window seat during my flight from Central Oregon to Seattle. I felt peaceful and excited about my upcoming adventure and was brave and starred the window the entire flight! This was a very big thing for me to do and here are a couple photos of what I saw:

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I had incredible views of some of the Cascade Mountain range. We were sandwiched between layers of clouds and it was very beautiful (note the window was tinted and sort of cloudy so the photos are limited in their clarity).

Meeting a Quilting Hero

As I mentioned in the previous posts, I got to meet in person someone I greatly respect and admire, Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi, founder of the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN). 

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I joined WCQN in 2016 and my piece The Lesson & The Equation will be in an upcoming WCQN show. I will share details about that show once Dr. Mazloomi formally announced the show. I am very excited to have my piece in the upcoming book that will be published about this show. Check out Dr. Mazloomi’s amazon.com page for examples of books from other exhibits she has curated.

At QTM 2017 I had the opportunity to view one of her amazing B&W quilts in person. She draws/paints these images and turns them into quilts. The piece below is of her grandson looking through some of her exhibit books:

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Coming ‘Home’ to New York

I was born in Pittsburgh, PA but I grew up in Long Island and Update New Yorker. I consider myself a “native New York” and part of my heart will always live in New York. I have been in NYC many times. I remember when I was a teenager I would take the train from Long Island to Manhattan and wander around the City for the day and return home in the evening.

If you have never visited NYC, it is something you must put on your “bucket list”. I guess it is like however everyone should try and visit Paris or London if possible. New York is one of those cities you just have to experience in person.

While living in Seattle and a couple times since I have moved to Central Oregon, I meet up with my family in NYC (they live in other areas of the East Coast but they are only a train or bus ride away). We learned over the years where the best least expensive places are to stay, and for this trip my sister found us an AirBNB place in a Brooklyn neighborhood:

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Here are a couple photos from the neighborhood to include a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library which was near where we stayed and the iconic FDNY:

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And then there was the Mister Softie truck which my 13 year nephew and I got slightly addicted to (NY soft serve ice cream!!!)

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The funny thing is as many times as I have visited NYC as an adult, I have only attended a Broadway show a couple times. I think I saw a couple Broadway shows as a kid and as a teens but I have primarily only seen the less expensive off-Broadway shows. Still as I was wandering around Manhattan between events one day of my trip, I daydreamed of going to this show (I am not sure if you can even get tickets):

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More from the Met

In my previous post I shared some photos of my brief wander around the overwhelming Metropolitan Museum of Art . In addition to the Asian wing, I also wandered around the European paintings. Like the museum in Europe I have visited (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Uffizi, Florence, etc.) it is so amazing to see paintings from say the 12th century!

I spent a little time in the Medieval painting section of the Met:

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I also stumbled upon displays of amazing ancient and modern ceramics, which included this piece/pieces which I thought would be a great inspiration art quilt design inspiration:

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Trimmings Galore

If you are a crafter visiting NYC, I recommend a visit to the Fashion District. It is a magical place with shops with rare fabrics and trimmings.

While wandering around Manhattan with my sister and nephew, I dragged them into an amazing shop – M&J Trimmings. Any embellishment you could think of for a textile could be found in this shop. Whether you needed feathers, buttons, tassels, cord, or any other type of trim you could imagine, they had it.

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And this was the room that blew my mind (I only captured one wall in my photos) – a huge room of BUTTONS! Buttons everywhere! I wanted to buy them all, but I only admired them as I could not justify buying anymore buttons! (See my 2016 post Buttons for more on my button-obsession).

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Of course I have so many more photos and of course a lot of family photos (you will just have to take my word for it on how handsome my nephews) but hopefully over the past four posts I gave you a general feeling of what it was like to attend the QTM 2017!


Postscript

So you might be thinking: “Tierney if you love NY so much, why don’t you still live there?”

I love NY and it has a special place in my heart but it is not where my heart wants to live. My heart wants to live in the Pacific NW. Washington and Oregon are amazing and beautiful states. The cultures are quite different than the East Coast. I love the laid back vibe and spirit of the Pacific NW. I love all the trees, the mountains, the “hipster” and “hippy” people that live here. The green eco-conscious vibe. The focus on human rights and causes. Not to say this type of culture does not exist in other parts of our country, but it seems really concentrated in the Pacific NW.

Now I have a friend from my college days who lives in NYC and loves to tease me: “Can you braid your arm pit hair now from living in the Pacific NW so long?” She thinks I spend most my days tree-hugging lol between sips of coffee.

People in the Pacific NW sometimes go overboard being nice and thoughtful but I like it! Sometimes crosswalks are an issue as cars will stop in anticipation that you are approaching the crosswalk to cross the street, so you can back up traffic when you are just looking like you might eventually cross a street! In Central Oregon we do not in general honk our horns at people who do not start up right away from a light changing to green. We just patiently wait for them to see the light and go (this is VERY different than NY!) If you need to learn patience and become more peaceful, move to the Pacific NW.

But people smile a lot here, and their smiles seem genuine.

During my layover in Seattle before my flight (on a big plane!) across the country to JFK airport/NYC, I found this in the Seattle airport bathroom – in a bathroom stall where the purse hook is mounted. Maybe it was done by a traveler from somewhere else, but it feels so Pacific NW:

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Feature image credit: quiltalliance.com

Behind the Scenes at the Antonio Ratti Textile Center – QTM 2017

Continuing my series of posts on my Quilters Take Manhattan 2017 event experience, this post I share my awe and wonder while attending a special behind the scenes tour of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

How I Ended Up Attending QTM 2017

Before I share that experience, let me back up a moment and talk about how I ended up attending the Quilt Alliance’s Quilters Take Manhattan event.

I first heard about the Quilters Take Manhattan event on a Facebook post of someone I follow who was attending the event.

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Image credit: quiltalliance.com

I was immediately tempted when I checked the event’s website and saw that Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi and Sherri Lynn Wood would be presenting but NYC is quite a plane ride from Central Oregon for a 1 day conference.

Next I saw that they were offering special add-on events such as a behind the scenes tour of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art .

The words “Antonio Ratti” hold a lot of meaning for me. In 2012 my friend Betty Anne and I came up with the idea of creating a collection of art quilts from gifted samples of Ratti textiles (renown house of Italian couture textiles) from the 1990’s NYC Fashion District. These samples would have been destroyed and we thought it would be amazing to create a collection of quilts from recycled materials meant for couture fabrics.

Betty Anne then invited other quilters to participate and we created Quilting Meets Couture. We showed this collection of 21 art quilts created by 14 women in 2013 at several venues to include a special exhibit at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. The Quilting Meets Couture group eventually disbanded, the collection did not go any further, and it eventually became The Wardrobe Meets the Wall containing only Betty Anne and my art quilts.

Recently, I created a page on the collaborative website Betty Anne and I have, Improvisational Textiles to honor the memory of this special time which was also my first venture into “art” quilting:

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(I will always been deeply grateful to my friend and mentor Betty Anne Guadalupe for encouraging me to move from traditional to art quilting, as well as all the art quilting inspiration from Jean Wells Keenan, see my post Creative Inspiration, Quilting Mentors).

Still the opportunity to meet Dr. Mazloomi, Sherri Lynn Wood, and to attend a behind the scenes tour of the textile center created/funded by the great Italian textile manufacturer/designer was not enough to fully justify in my mind a trip across the country (and associated expenses). I then realized I could also justify my trip by visiting with my family (who all live on the East Coast) while I was in NYC.

Of course this is where I ran into trouble – I tried to cram too much into a 4-day weekend. I ended up catching a bad cold from exhausting, long air travel, lack of sleep, etc. I ran my immune system into the ground, but I had a really wonderful time. I had an incredible visit with my sister, my brother and my two awesome nephews (ages 5 and 13).

Am I rambling? I always question at what point in my post I am just rambling. Okay, let’s return to the original purpose of this post – to share highlights from the behind the scenes tour of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center!

Behind the Scenes at the Antonio Textile and Reference Library

Our tour group was led/coordinated by the quite fabulous, Merikay Waldvogel, quilt historian. We met in the foyer of the mind blowing Metropolitan Museum of Art:

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The second photo you will see a very excited Tierney waiting with the tour group to go to the Antonio Ratti Textile Center. The last photo in the series above is an archway we passed under on our way to the Textile Center. I could barely breath at this point…

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I will be sharing limited photos that I took during the rest of this post on the tour. The curator requested that, in general, we only take photos for our own personal use. They would prefer we public shared only official images from the Met’s official collection. She also stated we could not take photos of how they store textiles at the center. There were other special rules of course – we could not touch any of the pieces and had to be careful not to let anything on our person touch the textiles.

But do not worry – they said we could note the catalog number of the quilt we viewed to access their public images of the work. So for the most part, I will share their images of the incredible historic quilts I viewed.

The staff at the Ratti Textile Center pre-selected a group of rare quilts, several which have never been on display because they are so fragile, for us to view. All the images below are property of and from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Collection website.

A Selection of Some of The Quilts We Viewed:


Honeycomb Quilt, Elizabeth Van Home Clarkson, 1830

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image credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art

From the Met website:

Elizabeth Van Horne Clarkson made this quilt from hundreds of small hexagonal pieces of fabric. It is the earliest wholly pieced American quilt in the Museum’s collection. Although pieced quilts were popular in England in the eighteenth century, the technique did not catch on in America until the nineteenth century, as increased leisure time made quiltmaking more popular and small patterned printed cottons were less expensive to work with than English chintzes. The quilt was made in a pattern known as Honeycomb. The multicolored hexagons are sewn together with whipstitching. Elizabeth Clarkson probably made the quilt as a wedding present for her son Thomas in about 1830.

There are an amazing amount of very tiny hexagons. The photo of course does not compare to seeing all the exquisite and elaborate detail of his quilt in person – the border is a quite complex piecing.


Pictorial Quilt, Euphemia Kichlein, 1832

The Met does not have an official photo on their website, so I will share one of the images I took of this amazing quilt:

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This quilt is quite famous and has appeared in several quilting historical books.


Star of Bethlehem pattern variation, Ellen Morton Littlejohn,  1837–50

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Image credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art

This quilt is too fragile to ever be on display and we were given the rare, once in a lifetime opportunity to view it in person. This quilt was made by an African American woman while she was a slave for the family that owned her. It was an example that early African American quilting is not only improvisational/’make do” quilting like the Gees Bend Quilts. This was an elaborately pieced and trapunto quilted quilt. The photo above does not show you all the detail I saw in person. One of the quilt historians in our tour group (there were at least 3 including a curator from the American Folk Art Museum!) stated that many elaborate quilts were made by slaves however these quilts were kept by the families that owned them and the quilts were never credited with the work.


Tumbling Blocks with Signatures pattern, Adeline Harris Sears, 1856

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Image credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art

From the Met’s website:

In 1856, seventeen-year-old Adeline Harris, the daughter of a well-to-do Rhode Island mill owner, conceived of a unique quiltmaking project. She sent small diamond-shaped pieces of white silk worldwide to people she esteemed as the most important figures of her day, asking each to sign the silk and return it to her. By the time the signatures were all returned and ready to be stitched into a “tumbling-blocks” patterned quilt, Adeline had amassed an astonishing collection of autographs. Her quilt features the signatures of eight American presidents; luminaries from the worlds of science, religion, and education; heroes of the Civil War; such authors as Charles Dickens and Ralph Waldo Emerson; and an array of prominent artists. Today, the autographs displayed in this beautiful and immaculately constructed quilt provide an intriguing glimpse into the way an educated young woman of the mid-nineteenth century viewed her world.

It was amazing to see Abraham Lincoln’s signature on a quilt block. Hope I am not breaking the rules, but here is a close up image I took:

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Floral Applique Quilt, Emeline Travis Ludington, 1850

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Image credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art

From the Met website:

In the mid-nineteenth century, at the time this outstanding quilt was made in Carmel, New York, a town about fifty miles north of New York City, the florid and intricate Rococo Revival Style was in full bloom. The grapevines and appliquéd flowers entwined into wreaths stiched onto the surface are reminiscent of the decoration found carved into the rich rosewood backs of high-style New York furniture of the same era. While many bed quilts are quite modest objects meant for everyday use, this one would have been considered stylish and sophisticated when it was created. Its exceptionally good condition reinforces the notion that it was meant to be a “best” quilt, taken out only on special occasions to beautify its maker’s home.
Emeline Travis Ludington had an ambitious artistic vision for her quilt, laying out and stiching a stunning overall design and adding an unusual scalloped finishing detail to the edges. Ludington was married to a banker, George, and was the mother of six children. Her quilt-making skill is undocumented beyond this piece.

It was interesting to listen to several of the quilt historians on the tour in our group debating the source of fabrics (England vs. US) and other historical details. We had a group of brilliant women in our tour group!


Woman’s Rights Quilt, Emma Civey Stahl, 1875

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From the Met’s website:
This unique pictorial quilt tells two distinct stories. Three of the circular appliquéd vignettes depict soldiers who fought in the American Civil War, assuredly still a fresh memory when the quilt was made. Three other blocks feature dynamic scenes of social activism in the fight for women’s rights. In one vignette, the reformer leaves her husband and child, a “WOMAN’S RIGHTS” banner slung jauntily over her shoulder. In another she is driving a horse-drawn cart, undoubtedly going to the meeting depicted in a third circle, where she vociferously lectures the cowering audience. The quiltmaker’s comical take on one of the most serious issues of the late nineteenth century raises the question of her own viewpoint on the subject


There were several other quilts, however in this post I wanted to share examples of the incredible pieces of quilting history we had the chance to view. The staff at the Antonio Ratti Textile Center were extremely knowledgable and helpful and you could tell they were excited to share some of the collection with the tour group.

After the Textile Center Tour

I had an hour before I needed to meet up with my family after the behind the scenes of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center tour was complete. What do see in an hour at the Metropolitan Museum of Art?!!?

The Met has over 5000 years of art from around the world, according to their website. According to Wikipedia, it is the largest art museum in the United States and its permanent collection contains 2 million works!

I went to one of the docent/information desks and asked for an idea of what to see in an hour (it takes weeks or months to see the entire collection). We discussed what I was interested in and she suggested I go to the Asian Art Wing. In this wing they had an amazing exhibit – Cosmic Buddhas in the Himalayas which had some incredible textiles on display as well as iconic Buddha images.

Here is a little flavor of the amazing exhibit:

It was quite a serene and mediative experience to walk among the Buddhas in the exhibit. The lighting was amazing, perfectly dimmed and the exhibits rooms were fairly empty except a couple of others quietly wandering the exhibit like myself. There was a mystical feeling to the whole exhibit. Also I had a wonderful chat with one of the security guards/museum staff assigned to the exhibit. She was amazed herself with one of the tapestries and when I showed interest in it, she was so happy to have someone to discuss all the intricate details of the tapestry with (the exhibit was very empty of visitors so there was not much guarding for her to do!)

Of course the images do not do the pieces justice. The same for the quilts I saw in person, the images do not even come close to the experience of seeing them in person.

I would like to return to the Metropolitan Museum of Art again someday and spend more time looking through their amazing collection!


Postscript

There is so much more I wanted to share in this post but this post has grown rather long so I will save the rest of it for my next post.

Spiritual Quilting – Sherri Lynn Wood at QTM 2017

Continuing my series of posts on the Quilters Take Manhattan (QTM) 2017 event I recently attended that began with the Sunday 09/17/17 post The “Dance Partner” – Michael Cummings at QTM 2017.

I could not decide whether to title this post “Spiritual Quilting”, “Quilting for the Spirit”, “Soul Quilting”, or “Quilting for the Soul” related to sharing highlights of Sherri Lynn Wood’s presentation at the QTM 2017.

Sherri Lynn Wood, author of The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously (2015) is not only an improvisational quilter but is also a former Divinity School student who I feel now practices a Ministry of Healing through Textile Arts. 

You might be familiar with Sherri Lynn Wood if you follow her blog, dainty time.net and/or if belong to her Facebook group The Improv Handbook For Modern Quilters. Here is Sherri at QTM 2017 in front of one of her iconic pieces; as well as her signing copies of her Improv Handbook:

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Here is another one of her iconic improvisational quilts:

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You might also be familiar with the Artist in Residence (AIR) residency she had a Recology in San Francisco where she and a group of other artists were given free reign of materials from a city’s dump to create art for a Modern Art exhibit of recycled art. Ms. Wood presented an excellent presentation on her Recology Residency and the amazing pieces of textile art she made from discarded items. Ms. Wood stated she even found a sewing machine, sewing supplies, thread, materials for batting, etc. in the city dump to use to create her art!

Below is an example of one of those pieces she had on display at QTM – a quilt made from discarded military uniform pants, using the length and lines of the pants as part of her quilt design.

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What you might not know about Sherri Lynn Wood, is that she has what I would consider a “Quilting Ministry” and part of that ministry is her Passage Quilting program where she helps individuals deal with grief and loss through creating a quilt (even if they have never quilted before) made from clothes of the deceased.

Ms. Wood shared this heart wrenching, amazing and beautiful story of a young woman who lost her fiancé due to a sudden tragedy. A short time after that loss, Ms. Wood helped this woman to make a Passage Quilt from her fiancé’s favorite clothing. It was an incredibly difficult process but the woman stated it had a tremendous impact on having her work through her grief. Ms. Wood had on display at QTM one of the Passage Quilts:

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She also has a project where she works with individuals and families who have lost a loved one in combat/while serving in the military to sew a coffin onto a remembrance quilt as part of their healing process. She shared several powerful stories and images of families who lost their military family members sewing together as part of their healing. Below is one of these quilts:

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She also works with communities to create community quilts where anyone no matter what level of sewing skill can participate.

The general themes of her presentation were:

  • Building community through craft
  • Honoring the earth through working with recycled materials; and by creating art from the discarded
  • Healing and grief work through tactile textile experiences

I was already a “super-fan” of Sherri Lynn Wood before meeting her and I have read Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously from cover to cover. I was deeply touched by Ms. Wood’s presentation (tears filled my eyes at times) – my spirit and my soul felt stirred and moved by her stories and images.

This is the reason for the title to this post – “Spiritual Quilting”. I am not referring to religious or a specific faith-based quilting. I am thinking of quilting, fabric, textiles, as a medium for hope, healing and community. For me, these are part of the foundation of spirituality.


Postscript

I did have my “fan-girl” moment and upon arriving at the QTM conference center in the morning and spotting Sherri Lynn Wood setting up her quilts for display, I thanked her for her wonderful book, the inspiration, and gave her a little wallet I had made from scraps specifically for her:

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Speaking of “fan-girl” moments for me at QTM 2017, I got a chance to meet in person Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi, founder of the Women of Color Quilting Network (WCQN) . I of course made her a special little wallet too, just tiny tokens for great women who inspire me! Her little wallet was inspired by her incredible Black & White art quilts!

More on that in my next post and at some point I will share my experience going on a behind the scenes tour of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; seeing one of my blogging buddies pieces at QTM 2017 (Mary P. of Zippy Quilts!) and meeting a fellow blogging buddy of Mary’s at the event; and more (I have a lot to share but I not mapped out the organization of this series of posts, ha!)

(Plus I will share a valuable lesson of how you should not try to cram too much into one weekend…I am currently recovering from a wicked cold!)

 


Feature photo credit: Nadia Szopińska, free images.com

 

The “Dance Partner” – Michael Cummings at QTM 2017

Sitting in an airport waiting for a flight seems like the perfect time to write a blog post.

I am flying back home to Central Oregon, to the other side of the country from where I have spent the past four days – New York, New York (aka NYC). I spent time with my family who lives on the East Coast and joined me in NewYork; I attended the Quilt Alliance’s 2017 Quilters Take Manhattan (QTM) event, which featured speakers Sherri Lynn Wood, Merikay Waldvogel, and Michael A. Cummings, interviewed by Dr. Carolyn L. Mazloomi; and I went on a behind the scenes tour of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at the Metropolitan Museum of Art!

It was quite the four-day weekend (I am planning a series of blog posts to share various snippets from this inspirational weekend) and what is currently resonating in my mind (and my heart) is the inspirational interview Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi held with the NYC based art quilter, Michael A. Cummings.

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Mr. Cummings and Dr. Mazloomi in front of one his incredible pieces from his African Jazz series – African Jazz #10

The Dance Partner

During the interview, Mr. Cummings referred to his sewing machine as his “dance partner”.

The first time he mentioned this my heart smiled (I felt it in my chest!). What an exquisite and beautiful way to refer to one of the primary tools an art or traditional quilter’s uses to express their creativity.

Mr. Cummings stated he has been using the same sewing machine for 40+ years and if I remember correctly, it is just a standard department store sewing machine. Colleagues have suggested he upgrade to an industrial or more modern sewing machine, but he stays faithful to his “dance partner”.

Mr. Cummings and his “dance partner” tell stories through his art. He shared during the interview that he has been influenced by cinema and music to include musical storytellers such as Bob Dylan.

Here are some examples, on display during the Quilters Take Manhattan Event of the incredible dances that Mr. Cummings and his dance partner have performed (please check out his website michaelcummings.com for his official portfolio – he has exhibited his art quilts and sold works to public institutions and private collectors around the world and has work in the permanent Smithsonian Folk Art collection):

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These are very large quilts and Dr. Mazloomi (a longtime friend and colleague of Mr. Cummings) states that most of his pieces are around 8 x 9 feet. All of this huge quilts are pieced, appliquéd, and machine quilted on his 40+ year old “dance parter”.

Lesson: You do not need a fancy new sewing machine to create incredible art. You just need to have story to tell and a creative mind to translate that story in fabric!

Mr. Cummings had a bounty of inspirational answers to Dr. Mazloomi’s questions. Some other inspirational answers he provided included:

  • When asked when does he know a quilt is done, Mr.Cummings responded “I let the quilt tell me when it is done” (paraphrased).
  • Mr. Cummings shared that for years he worked full-time for the Department of Cultural Affairs for New York City and made himself find time every evening after work to work on his art quilts. At times he wanted to do something else in the evenings (relax after work, attend social events, etc.) but he knew that if he truly wanted to be an art quilter he would have to sacrifice and “do the work”.

Postscript

To say I was creatively inspired after the interview, would be an understatement.

I feel like I am ready to go home and continue working on my Stories My Father Told Me Series (see post Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me).

Sorry little wallets (Little Wallet Madness) it’s time to return to art quilting and tell some stories – I am ready to dance with my partner!

Well it is time to go get on my plane and return to quiet Central Oregon (quite different from NYC in so many ways) but I have much more to share in future posts from my trip and this incredible weekend!


Feature image (cropped) credit: Yan Moura, freeimages.com

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The Napkin Story

From the tierneycreates archives – I am getting ready to meet up with my sister in NYC (I am attending the Quilters Take Manhattan event) and I was thinking of the many times that she inspired me to chill out more in life!

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In my previous post Farm Girl Vintage, Part III I mentioned my past challenges with nearly OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) level of desire for order and neatness in my life.

When we lived in Seattle, WA I used to entertain, a lot. Game nights, holiday get-togethers at my house, random dinner parties, birthday party hosting, baby shower hosting, work parties, etc., etc. I was very social – and if I was not throwing party, I was attending a party or going to some event. Notice, I mentioned that “I” was very social, as I learned years later, Terry the Quilting Husband was only playing along, he would have preferred more quiet time at home with me and the dogs. (There is the Thanksgiving he always teases me about – when we out of obligation, courtesy and my desire, attended 3 – 4 Thanksgiving celebrations at various friends’ homes all…

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Little Wallet Madness

As mentioned in recent previous posts, I have been making little wallets from my fabric scraps.

Endless wallets. Cutting out fabric from templates in the evening while watching TV and then engaging in marathon assembling and sewing.

58+ wallets later, I am ready to share photos of the wallets.

First here are 55 of them (two I recently I gave away as gifts and one I kept for myself):

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An attempt at closer up photos of the wallets:

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I had so much fun rummaging through my boxes of fabric scraps and putting together various combinations. Here are photos of a couple of the insides of the little wallets to demonstrate some of the color and texture combinations I used for the inside pockets:

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Here are some of my favorite little wallets from my little wallet assembly madness:

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I plan to do a “Little Wallet” giveaway to celebrate the 4th anniversary of my blog in October so stay tuned. They are perfect for business cards, a place to keep punch cards (like frequent customer cards) or to use as a wallet.

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Limitless Library Love

(In addition to worrying about those in Texas and Florida) Today my thoughts are focused on just how much I love my local public library. This is not just a fleeting infatuation, I am talking about a deep bibliophilic obsessed kind of love!

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you have likely figured this out, especially with ongoing series such as The Library Stack featuring my latest stack of tomes on loan from my beloved library. However in addition to realizing how deeply in love I am with my local public library, I realize just how much money and space accessing my library has saved me.

Tierney the “Collector”

As my friend Michele has told me, “You are a Collector”. I am actually a reformed “collector”.

Years ago I became interested in Special Edition Barbie dolls. I did not just buy a couple, I bought a ridiculous amount. The same thing happened with collectible stuffed rabbits. I could not just have a couple, I appeared to need them all.

When I tapered down my need to collect Barbies or Bunnies, I transferred my need to collect to craft books and crafting magazines (and occasionally home decorating books and magazines).

As I incorporated Minimalism into my life (see series of posts under My Minimalism Journey) I began to honestly evaluate the clutter in my life, including whether I needed to own and continue to bring into my home that many crafting books and magazines.

I still love looking at new craft books (I get a little “makers-high” from leafing through a craft book for the first time) and I did not want to give up the pleasure of a new craft book and a pot of tea in my cozy reading spot.

The public library was the solution! I realized I did not need to own every craft book I am attracted to – I could just borrow it, enjoy it and return it. I can even take it out again to look at a couple months later if I like – it will be there waiting for me…AND it will not take up space in my bookshelf or cost money out of my wallet!

More Than Just Books

It began with borrowing books and then I discovered many other wonderful benefits as a library card holder:

  • Borrowing audiobooks that I can listen to on my smartphone
  • Magazines for my iPad for free (to include American Patchwork & Quilting Magazine and many popular home decorating magazines)
  • Free music downloads (I can download 5 songs a week…well 10 using my husband’s library card too from a huge selection of music)
  • Movies for my DVD player – we do not go out to movies very often – we just borrow them from the library (and I have learned secret tricks to be first in line on new releases at the library!)
  • Online movies – although I do have Netflix so I do not use this feature very often, our library has its own version on Netflix with older movies and TV shows.
  • Novel Idea – the whole town reads the same book once a year (a community wide book group) and then there are special programs in the Spring with the author coming to town to speak about their book!

In addition to all this there is so much more like the Author! Author! Literary Series where big name authors come to town and speak!

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Image credit: Deschutes Public Library

Okay, soon I will stop running on and on about my beloved library. But would you mind, I share some recent reads and listens? (or you can skip to the Postscript section if you have grown tired my library related ramblings and you are now ready for some crafting project related news…)

Recent Borrowings

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Last week I posted on my current library stack but I have since moved on to a new (and smaller stack). As you can see I was enjoying feeding the flames of my small and tiny house obsession. These three books are a delightful pot-of-tea-drinking, book-flipping, daydreaming experience.

My obsession is not as bad as it used to be (I used to incessantly watch tiny house related TV shows and tiny house tour videos on YouTube) but I am still fascinated by them. I also enjoy “RV porn” and love to watch videos of RV walkthrough tours. I like the idea of small compact and cozy space. It is also a space which is more difficult to clutter with stuff, and I like that idea of space imposed curation!

I recently finished several excellent library borrowed fiction audiobooks:

  • Michael Chabon’s novel Moonglow. I read a great interview with him in Poets&Writers magazine last year. When I saw he is coming to Central Oregon this fall on the Author!Author! literary tour, I thought it was time to actually read one of his books and see what all the hype was about!

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I now understand what all the hype is about this author – his sentences are so beautifully and richly crafted and his ability to tell a story is impressive. Here is my review of the book I posted on Goodreads and on Amazon.com:

I was fortunate to listen to the audiobook version of this novel which was flawlessly and excellently narrated.

The book is a memoir masterpiece, telling the fascinating story of his maternal grandfather’s life as told by his grandfather to the author as he was terminally ill. The author also weaves in poignant moment from his own life and his mother’s life with his grandfather’s (and grandmother’s story). The first hand accounts of his grandfather’s experiences in Europe during WWII are amazing and powerful. They are not battle scenes but focus on the lives of a small village experiencing WWII. The book covers a span of time from around the 1920s to 1980s.

Mr. Chabon’s writing is spectacular and I see what all the hype is about surrounding this author. I read/listened to the book because he is coming to our town to speak on a literary tour and before hearing him speak I wanted to read one of his book. He is a very gifted writer, his use of language and the crafting of a sentence are amazing. I think he might be one of the great writers of our current generation.

  • I also recently finished a spectacular science fiction trilogy by Cixin Liu – The Three-Body Problem (winner of the Hugo award), The Dark Forest, and Death’s End. I was fortunate enough to listen to them all on audiobook. And here is the really cool thing – my library did not have an audiobook copy of the second (The Dark Forest) or the third book (Death’s End) in the trilogy. So I suggested them for purchase using the special online form my library has – and THEY ORDERED THEM!

Cixin Liu is a big name in Chinese science fiction and the cultural differences are evidence in his books but they only add to the story. The science part of the “science fiction” is amazing and detailed yet accessible. So far it is one of my favorite Science Fiction trilogies of all time, rivaling Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game Trilogy and Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama trilogy (previously my two favorites).

Let me close out my ramblings about my awesome public library with this quote:

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Postscript

Sending My Heart Out

First before I share what I have been up to crafting-wise lately, let me just say my hearts go out to the people of Houston, Texas and the surrounding areas. We lived in Houston for 9 years from 1988 – 1997 and many of the flooded areas shown on the news (Terry the Quilting Husband has been watching The Weather Channel non-stop) are quite familiar to us.

My heart also goes out to those in the tropical islands and to states such as Florida in the path of Hurricane Irma. I cannot imagine the stress and fear going on in Florida right now knowing what Hurricane Harvey did to Texas.

Current Crafting – Little Wallet Obsession

I will have a future post with more details and perhaps a “little wallet photoshoot” on all the different combinations, but I have made 40+ little wallets since starting last week.

I am trying to make a dent in my fabric scrap collection:

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Here are some in progress (I am having so much fun with color and pattern combinations):

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And here is a basket of the first 37 completed (by the time of this photo):

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My next post will feature all the little wallets I have completed, so you can see some of the fun color and pattern combinations. I did make a bit of a dent in my fabric scraps and I’ve made many little functional items with those scraps.

I bought way too many business cards and I have a business card tucked away in each little wallet to demonstrate how the little wallet could be used.

Recently gave one of the little wallets as part of a retirement gift (it held a gift card) and I think the little wallet was more popular with the recipient than the gift card!

I might do a future little wallet blog giveaway to celebrate my 4th year of blogging (and that fellow humans actually keep reading my blog, ha!)  – stay tuned!


Feature image photo credit: Deschutes Public Library

Update on “Scrappy Improvisational Medallion”…Pillow

The last of the four old projects (#3) I laid out in my my studio in the photo below, is now completed:

2017-08-01_19-03-27_630I first posted about this project in the post What’s on the Design Wall: Scrappy Improvisational Medallion and the plan was to make it into a Medallion Quilt.

However, I was not feeling inspired to keep building the improvisational Medallion Quilt, even after I pulled out my copy of Gwen Marston’s book Liberated Medallion Quilts. (This book is about breaking the rules and making improvisational medallion quilts instead of traditional accurately pieced medallion quilts.)

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I even found among my scraps a wonderful collection of coordinating fabrics. Still, I was not feeling inspired to make it into a quilt. I did however want to make it into something and to be done with this project, so I made it into a pillow for my sunroom:

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This pillow joins my collection of handmade items on secondhand love-seat in my sunroom that my neighbor gave me. The love-seat is plaid and not really my style, so I covered it with homemade and other second hand items.

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I am not giving up on my plan to make a medallion quilt someday! I tucked away some ideas from working on this piece.


Postscript

So what is next? Well I have become obsessed with making little wallets using my collection of fabric scraps:

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I am not sure what I am going to do with all the little wallets, but I am having fun playing in my different boxes of fabric scraps organized by color and finding pieces that working with the templates for the little wallets:

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Fabric scraps organized by color

Here is a bag of turquoise and teal fabric scraps I cannot wait to play with next once I finish playing with orange and brown scraps:

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I will share in a future post all the little wallets in fun color combinations I made from scraps!