A Page from My Book: Journal Quilt Project

International Quilt Festival
Houston, Texas 2002

Members of the QuiltArt online forum were challenged to participate in a special exhibit at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. The exhibit would be "journal" pages, one per month for nine months, in both visual and written format. My pages reflect some event in my life that month -- close to home, international news, or a new commission. All these pages were experiments. I did not rework nor perfect them for display, keeping to the notion that these are a view of an artist at work. What excited me about the challenge was adding the dimension of "time" to the display of quilts. One quilt by itself is interesting but static. Add the "fourth dimension" of time, and viewers can see the creative process, and creative progress, of an artist. The pages' format were required to be 8.5 x 11 inches, vertical orientation. Other than that, there were no rules!


January - “Waiting for Snow”

This page is from my children’s point of view: looking straight up for those flakes, hoping for enough to go sledding or even get a day off of school.

Used a woven, patterned lamé fabric for the quilt top a break from cottons. Painted a cloudy effect directly on batting. Used various browns from the Oliver Twist hand-dyed cotton threads (oh how I love them!) to thread-sketch the trees.


February - “Lark Ascending”

The title refers to one of my favorite pieces of music, by Vaughan Williams. It is evocative of a lark spiraling into a serene sky. This image connected in my mind with the tragedy of journalist Daniel Pearl. His widow stated, "The terrorists who say they killed my husband may have taken his life, but they did not take his spirit.” I see his spirit like the lark, ascending from war and chaos into a peaceful sky.

The red at the bottom is a marbled fabric fused to the background. The swirls are thread-painted. The lark is a piece of organza sewn down with white thread.


March - “Stuart Condos”

Trial "sketch" for a customer of condominiums in Stuart, Florida. The condos have some very unusual architecture.

The red fabric is from SkyDyes. The pelicans are inked; I decided they were not opaque enough and fused them (black fabric) on the final quilt. I saw I needed to vary linearity of grass and sand areas and add water at bottom. Tried various Oliver Twist colors for windows, to add variety, but the customer ended up wanting something totally realistic for the final version.


April “Stream”

Walking my dog each day through the woods near my house is a source of inspiration. There is a small bridge over a stony stream where we like to pause and think about the day ahead. I had long wanted to make a quilt look like that shallow stream.

Used folded organza, with slivers of blue cotton batik underneath. Quilted with blue metallics and rayons. Future large quilt will be irregular and partially raw-edged.


May - “Circles”

A test for making circles out of thread and “Romeo” stabilizer, for Utah commission (see Welcome Communication.) Base is funky piece of SkyDyes fabric. Quilting gives motion and creates leaves at bottom, as hinted by the fabric coloring.


June - “Desert Flowers”

This is another test for Welcome Communication. Base is gaudy fabric from another project. My first time using dyesticks. Color would probably be more intense if starting on white fabric, but this is fine -- my plan is to convert the variety of fabrics in the commissioned quilt into visually related flower “prints”. Inspired by photo of high desert flowers.


July - “Floating”

Test of raw edge piecing technique, again for the huge Welcome Communication commission. Found I needed more overlap between patches to prevent gaps. Variegated thread is nice choice for sewing along raw edges. Subtle background changes nice. The shaded circles were quilted as an afterthought -- it contrasts curved quilting motifs with straight seam piecing.


August - “Grove of the Patriarchs”

In late August we took a family vacation to the Seattle area and then on to Alaska. This page portrays an ancient fallen cedar near Mt. Rainier. The trunk had lost the outer layer of bark, exposing the wood grain.

I painted the fabric, pressed curved "pleats" for woody texture, and machine quilted it.


September “Ketchikan”

My favorite memory of our Alaska trip was of the numerous floatplanes in Ketchikan. I created a Native American-inspired design for the body of the plane, and included mountains wreathed in mist. Did most of the sewing of this page on Sept. 11; thought back to making “Hawks and Doves” a year ago, my catharsis quilt. My remembrance of that awful day is sewn in this piece, in silver thread hidden in the plane’s white wake: two long rectangles, a pentagon, and a square. This September, seeing planes brought joy instead of fear or unease. Still, a hawk circles high above, on the edge of sight.

The plane is made of yellow fabric fused to the background, inked with Pigma pens. The spinning propellor and the mist are organza. Trees on the mountainsides, the wake, and the rocky shore are densely thread painted.

Part of the 2002 Journal Quilts display in Houston. Over 150 quilt artists participated.

Journal quilts display

The panel including my quilt pages (second row). Each quilter attached her quilts and two pages of text to a ten-foot-long black sleeve. These were hung in front of a black curtain.


The journal quilt project continued each year, becoming one of the more popular exhibits at Quilt Festival, and will end in 2006.