Family Ties

La Conner Quilt Museum

Every year, we make at least one if not two ‘pilgrimages’ to the Quilt Museum in La Conner, Washington.  It’s a lovely old Victorian home with three floors of quilt exhibits that rotate quarterly and showcase the work of  local, regional and international quilt artists.

The largest annual fundraiser is a Quilt Festival featuring juried and judged quilts and fiber artists from around the world.  The Festival is accompanied by four days of quilt events, workshops, silent auction and specialty vendors.  For more info:

Family Ties 31″ wide x 30.5″ long

I recently learned that my latest piece, Family Ties, has been juried into this year’s Quilt Festival Show in the Traditional, Mixed category.  I’m very excited.  This quilt represents the lives of my family and contains a lot of complex symbolism.     The lone star, tree and leaves are my father’s recycled ties.  The lace collar was made by my mother, dyed by me.  The pictures are of my parents and siblings and printed on silk.

The intertwined bias strips in the tree represent myself and my siblings and our life interactions.  The leaves represent my parents’ joy in their eight grandchildren.

Family Ties, detail

The seven tie points at the bottom of the wall hanging represent the seven children, the large brown “B” tie point represents my father, Guy Bingham; and the seven connected lace points represent my mother, Rose, and her impact on all our lives.

I had the most fun embellishing this piece…the same sized copper colored beads for my father’s stable, enduring and loving influence; the wonderful, varied color and sized beads for my mother’s creativity and the love that blossomed into it’s greatest impact with the advent of grandchildren.  Commemorating these relationships through quilting has confirmed life’s beauty and brought for me, closure to the loss of all but one of my siblings.

Seeing all the winners from previous years leads me to doubt the promise of a prize winning piece in this show; however; a juried piece brings a reward in and of itself.

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Group Challenge

January, 2012...Topic: Still Life -- Ristra 11x15 1/2 Inches

Larye and I have been attending a monthly meeting of  local art quilters for the past 18 plus months.   The group members have been meeting in Olympia for a number of years and include an incredible number of talented fabric surface design and collage artists.

Since we have been attending, the bulk of the meetings have been informal  and include a sharing of new literature, websites and current personal projects (often in progress and, in many different artistic media).

At the beginning of this year, the attendees decided that there would be a more formal monthly challenge for those members who wished to participate.  The challenge would revolve around a chosen subject, and the participants would choose the medium for their individual art pieces.

My proficiency (and, therefore, my comfort zone) has always been conventional three layer quilting…with the addition of beads and fabric surface alteration in the last decade.   The topic decided upon for January was Still Life.  I have a huge fondness for New Mexico’s life style…architecture, textiles, pottery and, of course, food.  Thus, the beaded Ristra on a quilted background.  The string of peppers was beaded on a felt base which has velcro on the back so the piece can be removed from the quilted “frame” and swaped with new beadwork each month….my original intent.  I liked the Ristra well enough to make it a permanent wall hanging (until further notice!) and progressed on to February….

February, 2012...Subject: Landscape -- Fire in the Bitterroots 14x17 inches

February’s subject matter was voted a landscape.  I approached this month’s challenge as a “whole cloth” quilt and did the underlying picture using thread play only.  I then carved a tree stamp in two different sizes and used it to over stamp the thread play…and, just for good measure, I added a few  Angelina trees made using  the same stamp.  The fish stamp was one I had carved a few years ago for another project…I added one Angelina fish to the mix.

I’m not entirely happy with this piece so I consider it unfinished.  I may have to add some beads or foiling to the edges of the fire to get the point across. The piece is hanging on my design wall until and if I decide to add more dimension.

March, 2012....Subject: Notan in Fabric -- Tree of Life 12x20 inches

As a discussion of art techniques, Notan (Japanese design involving the play and placement of light and dark) was introduced to the group.  In February, a number of group members chose to create paper Notan pieces.  The 6 inch square of  gold card stock in the piece below was cut and placed on a 12×12 inch piece of purple card stock…the cut pieces flipped in mirror image opposite the original cut on the 6 inch square using the traditional Japanese technique.

Notan 12x12 inches

The response to Notan as an art form was very positive, so the group elected to use this technique on fabric for the March challenge.  Because my paper Notan was too intricate to repeat in fabric, I chose another design.

I used two pieces of the same fabric for the tree…right sides together with “Steam A Seam” bond on the wrong side of both squares.  I drew the tree design on the paper backing of the adhesive attached to one of the squares and cut out both trees simultaneously.  The positive image of the tree was flipped from one fabric opposite the negative image from the other fabric and fused to the background fabric.  Using this method, I ended up with two identical wall hangings…each a mirror image of the other.

April’s challenge subject is circles….hmmmm

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Back to Business

Summer and Fall 2011 have been chaotic and creatively stagnant. We managed to sell the Montana house in August against all (slow market) odds and after 25 months on the market. Somehow, being relieved of an additional house payment convinced us that we were free to do more traveling and biking. Of course, true to our usual and customary mode of operations, we overdid both endeavors. Our car that was new with zero mileage in January, 2011, now has 35,000 miles on the odometer and a new set of tires. We don’t plan to leave home again until at least May…a happy turn of events for the spa pampered, but family neglected cat (she who runs the household…really).

I have been very fiber deprived the last few months. Fortunately, I did have some (on hand) inventory for the yearly Olympia Weavers Guild sale in December. As a result of a few sales there, I have a small amount of change in the business account to support supplies acquisitions…and lots of ideas for working toward the next sale in the Fall. There were such beautiful woven offerings that I decided I needed to resurrect the projects on those warped and waiting looms throughout the house.

In the interim, I have been playing with creating my own quilted fiber journal and date book covers. In addition to using left over warp end weaving and recycled wool, I have been making my own fabric by using that tried and true method of sandwiching loom waste yarns and ribbons between two water soluble stabilizers and quilting with specialty threads. So far, the end product has been used to make fabric covers for 2012 date books sized for carrying in purse or bag. They have been very popular with the quilt guild ladies, but I still have a few for gifts or sale and will start making journal covers after the New Year when calendars become immediately outdated.

Quilted fiber cover 4x7 inches

Quilted fiber cover 4x7 inches

Hand woven and fabric cover 5 1/2x7 1/2 inches

Hand quilted batik cover 5 1/2x 7 1/2 inches

The art quilt group to which Larye and I belong has sent out a New Years challenge for monthly projects. January’s project is to be categorized as “Still Life”. The participant may utilize any medium or size or subject desired. I think I will make a frame or background (small…no more than 12 inches square) that can be hung in the hallway and will highlight the projects I choose to complete throughout this next year. I plan to size each project so that it will become the featured center of the frame. There is no pressure to complete projects that don’t appeal, so it’s looking like a doable, fun and, perhaps, creative year with this group. Time will tell….

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Come Fly With Me

“Come Fly With Me” 10×12 inches framed

Pieced silk and satin piece with porcelain  and metal dragon flies.  Fancy takes flight complete with flight pattern in beads and quilting.

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Aceso; Personification Of The Healing Process 5x6 inches

Aceso is number three in my small art quilt goddess series.  Because she is the Greek Goddess of Healing, I created Aceso as a gift for a friend undergoing chemotherapy.  According to lore, Aceso was more the patroness of the process of healing (both physical and mental) rather than the more conventional elimination of illness represented by her sister, Panaceia.  Aceso was made with a great deal of care and is surrounded by the cheerful colors of hope and encouragement that epitomize the support my friend deserves….


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Ancestral Memories

Ancestral Memories Art Quilt 7x8.5 inches

Second in a series of goddesses in small wall art and a work in progress.  I need to find a satisfactory binding technique for this series of small wall art quilts.  Traditional binding is, by definition, too large a format for finishing this size quilt…an interesting challenge….

Ancestral Memories

A small (1/8 inch) piece of fabric used in a method similar to traditional binding finishes the project.  I have started mounting these small pieces for stability on cloth covered stretcher boards…the finished effect is polished enough to complement the rest of the artwork.

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The Goddess Create. Pieced, quilted and beaded wall art sized 7x9 inches

First in a series of small art quilts dedicated to goddesses in general and crones in particular.  The term goddess is self explanatory and usually refers to a young woman at her “prime”.  Goddesses are prominent and admired in all stages of our history; but, I would like to think of each stage in a woman’s life cycle as “prime”.  A crone should not be discounted as she has much to offer as a mature woman who has gained wisdom and compassion with the aging process.  This series of art quilts will celebrate women as goddesses in all stages of the life cycle with emphasis on crones and their unique gifts.

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Toward Independence

Riding to support the MS fund raiser 2006

A reminder of the important things in life…riding, family, friends, riding, outdoor activities, creating art quilts, riding, camping season coming up, grandchildren, riding…

I have just finished two more client quilts…three left to go before I fulfill my commitment to quilt for other folks….independently scheduled free time just around the corner…

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Three For Three

Partially handwoven jacket complete with embellishment

When beading, one is never sure when the project is complete; but, I think this jacket is ready to wear…..

Olympia Weavers Guild booth at Association of Northwest Weavers Conference in Salem, Oregon 2011

The end project among it’s authentic Bog jacket companions at Weavers’ conference.  Our booth took first place for best interpretation of conference theme!  The jacket has been renamed “Way Beyond the Bog”

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Hand Sewing Always Required

Modern interpretation of an old favorite...A Bog Jacket, more or less

Time is getting short to provide a garment for the Olympia Weavers Guild booth at the ANWG (Association of Northwest Weavers Guild) conference the end of May.  The colors aren’t quite to spec, the garment isn’t entirely hand woven, and it doesn’t really resemble a bog jacket….three for three.  Hmmmm, might as well add beads and be entirely out of compliance!  What fun!


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