Friday, 14 July 2017

I Wish I Had a River I Could Skate Away On


''Winter Road'' 
by Georgia Okeeffe




I Wish I Had a River I Could Skate Away On
Designed and pieced by Bill Stearman
Hand-guided long arm quilted by Deanna Gaudaur

I am so impressed with Georgia Okeeffe’s ‘Winter Road’. 
For me, it represents the greatest lesson that I need to learn with my own art … to simplify.  In this painting, she has removed layers and layers of detail, until all that remains is line.  And the power of that simple, gentle, and beautiful line, tells a story that Georgia had no words for.
I start so many pieces with grand ideas of how the quilt will tell the story, yet much of the time they just fail … until I pull away the layers, and the details, and the excess. Until only the story is left.
Joni Mitchell is another of my favourite artists.  For me, she always has the words to tell my stories, simply, without all the layers. 
Looking at Georgia Okeeffe’s ‘Winter Road’ has always made me think about Joni Mitchell’s song (poem) ‘River”.
This quilt is my attempt to tell a part of my own story, using Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’ … simply …  in a way that is inspired by Georgia Okeefe’s ‘Winter Road’.

And happily, I have skated away on that river.


And the back is pretty cool as well!

Monday, 26 June 2017

Wow!

Dear Bill,
Congratulations! Your quilt Reflections of the Sydney Opera House has been selected for inclusion in the special exhibit Tactile Architecture™ 2017. This year was a difficult year for the jurors because so many beautiful quilts were submitted.


I am absolutely thrilled and humbled that this quilt will At the International Quilt Festival in Houston this Fall, along with one of my other quilts ... It's Cloud Illusions I Recall, which will be in the Celebration of Colour special exhibit.



Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Reflections of the Sydney Opera House




Artist's Statement

While in Australia recently, I fell absolutely and totally in love with the Sydney Opera House.  

I dragged my poor husband onto boats, through gardens, up a bridge, across a harbour, into a train station, onto a roof top, and to a zoo ... just so that I could view and photograph it from all angles!

Of all the views captured with my camera, I love this iconic view of the sails of the Opera House best.  The sails are traced from an enlarged copy of one of my own photographs.  To me, this view captures the grandeur of the structure, as it reflects over and over in the waters of Sydney Harbour, and in the hearts and minds of visitors from all corners of the world.

There is the most amazing and positive energy under the sails of this UNESCO World Heritage site and I never tired of viewing or visiting it.  For me, it needed to be incorporated into a quilt that I could wrap myself up in.

With this quilt I have attempted to capture how stunning the Sydney Opera House is.


The ‘water’ is my own hand dyed indigo fabric.  The ‘sails’ are from fabric designed by Australian, Shauna Scicluna.  Jorn Utzon, the designer of the Opera House said that his design was inspired by the ‘simple act of peeling an orange’, so the orange fabric colour seemed perfect.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

What's Next?

While in Australia, I fell absolutely and totally in love with the Sydney Opera House.
To me, it is quilt, after quilt, after quilt, waiting to be made!

I dragged poor Larry onto boats, through gardens, up a bridge, across a harbour, into a train station, and to a zoo ... just so that I could view and photograph it from all angles!

And from all of those different angles and views, this is the one that I've decided to capture in a quilt first!


I realise that it is the 'standard' Opera House photo ... but it just seems to say ... 
'START HERE'.
:-)

I'll keep you posted if my idea gels!

Playing With Japanese Fabrics

I have this wonderful bin of Japanese fabrics that I've collected, mostly from my friends at Kallisti Quilts.
I had no idea what I'd ever do with them.

Then, I came across Tula Pink's City Sampler book on a shelf in my studio, and an idea began to gel.

I don't usually like patterns ... or projects that take a long time ... but this idea is totally fun!


Tula Pink is known for her bright, modern colours.  
So ... I decided that the dichotomy of a Tula  quilt ... made with traditional Japanese fabrics ... would definitely keep me smiling.

I'm doing the blocks whenever I have just a few minutes to sew, and as a warm-up exercise before longer sewing sessions.


Here are the first nine blocks out of the 100.
I can't believe how much I am enjoying this!

Jet Lagged



'Jet Lagged'


I had the strips for this quilt cut out before we left for a month in Australia.
The plan was that it would be fairly regular in layout.

After a month away from my machine, I went at it like a mad fool the first day home.

And then ... jet lag set in.  
I have difficulty putting the concept of jet lag into words ... but this quilt pretty much sums it up for me.

It is ready for my quilter, Deanna Gaudaur.
:-)

'It Should Be as Simple as This'

'It Should Be As Simple As This'


I made this quilt for the Threads of Resistance Show.  Deanna Gaudaur ( quintestudios.com ) did an amazing job with the quilting.


The response to the Threads of Resistance Show was phenomenal.  They had over 500 entries, for 62 spaces.


Mine was not selected for the show, but all of the quilts entered in the show, and the artist statements, are posted on the Threads of Resistance website.

The folks running this show get top marks from me for the class that they have shown with this event!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Sacred Threads

'At Peace' and 'The Rest of the Story' have been juried into the 2017 Sacred Threads show in Herndon, Virginia.
I am thrilled and humbled.



The Art of Changing the World

These three quilts were selected for display in 'The Art of Changing the World' show, at the Core Gallery, during the Downtown Belleville DocFest.


My World 

 This quilt started as play at a men's quilting retreat in Vermont, using up bits left over from other quilts.  As it grew, it quickly took on a life of its own, and it began to tell about my own life.
I live with Attention Deficit Disorder and the variety in colour, the randomness, the undisciplined nature of the arrangement, the pops of bright colours, the irregular and irrational shape, the movement and flow, the joy ... all captured in a sea of happiness ... that is my world; the way my world feels to me.
I smiled all the time that I worked on this quilt, and I still smile when I look at it today.  It always reminds me that ... life is good.



 Reconciliation: a Father and Son Story

 I was an odd child and certainly not what my father had expected.  We weren't close. There were no obvious signs of affection between us; from either of us. It was like we had both given up the other, for the good of the family; keeping up appearances.

At the age of 47, I came out to my father. By then, he was widowed, blind, and living alone in a retirement home. I travelled to Edmonton to tell him face to face.

That visit was life altering for both of us. We talked for hours about the moments that we hadn't shared; the little things that mattered; our secret dreams. For the first time in my life, I understood, what I had sensed others were feeling, when they spoke of their fathers. During the remaining four years of his life, I visited whenever I could, and we spoke almost daily. We were father and son.

I will never forget saying good bye to my father after that visit. He hugged me, and told me for the first time in my memory, that he loved me … and then sobbed ... “If I had only known. If I had only known. Think how different our lives might have been.”

This quilt is my attempt to tell that story.



Comfort and Joy 

The fabric in this quilt is my favourite to work with.  It is an African batik fabric, hand-made in small batches. No piece is longer than a few metres.  It is made in Tanzania by a woman who supports her family by selling this fabric to fair trade dealers.  
It changes her world everyday.
When I work with this fabric, I know that she was happy and I can hear her humming.  The energy is so positive.
I do my best to add my own positive energy when I work with this fabric by free hand cutting the pieces within the blocks. 
When I wrap myself in this quilt, I am always comforted by her joy.

International Quilt Festival ... 'A Celebration of Color'

This quilt was juried into the 'Celebration of Color' exhibition that will first appear at International Quilt Festival, Chicago, in April. 

It will tour with IQF, and be returned in December, 2019.

Humbled. 


CLOUD ILLUSIONS I RECALL



This quilt reflects on my life. 

To say that my life has been a colorful one is an understatement. Certainly, it has been disjointed and chaotic. And much of what I remember is hazed over, as if by clouds. But always there has been color … brilliant, joyous, vibrant, shining through the cracks color! Color is what got me through the times when … 'clouds got in the way.'

Sometimes I wonder if Joni Mitchell was right and it is only 'cloud illusions I recall'. I guess it doesn't really matter, as long as I can have color.




Saturday, 26 November 2016

My Left Brain


Finished.

104" X 113"

Quilted by Deanna Gaudaur, quintestudios.com


Wednesday, 2 November 2016

I got back to dyeing today ... with Pre-reduced Indigo.  This is now my favourite colour and type of dye!
I LOVE the texture, colour variation, and movement that I can get.

I'm still working on a 'tree' that will stretch 24 feet tall.  The trunk will be mostly indigo.  These new pieces should help me to get the look that I want!

Life is good!  



Saturday, 22 October 2016

Molly

A couple of weeks ago, I met the most amazing young woman named Molly.  It was love at first sight!  And since her mother had three other kids to deal with, she let Molly hang out with me for a few hours ...




So ... I figured that if she could hang with me for that long, she was `Quilt Worthy`.  I`m still working on it, and want to use it for Show and Tell at our next Guild Meeting, but, this one is called ... 

`Love For Molly - Always`.







Playing

With all of that fabric, I really needed to play with colour, light, and movement to see what I can do with it all.

Here is some of my play ...











Dyeing

Dyeing ...
That pretty much sums up how I have spent much of my time since September.  I LOVE the fabric that I am encouraging and so look forward to using it to tell my stories.








Fall Men`s Retreat

In September I went back to Chester, Vermont, for the Fall Men`s Quilting Retreat.  I love the Fullerton Inn.  She is a grand old lady, staffed by the friendliest people!


And I love the guys who attend this retreat with me!


I worked much of the time with some of my hand dyed fabric with Kona Mushroom, which is a colour that seems to set off mt fabric so well.
This piece, when it is done, will tell a story of finding yourself.
Until then ... it remains yet another UFO ... :-)








Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild Retreat

In June, I traveled back to Chester, Vermont for a retreat with the Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild.  What a great bunch of folks!  

They pushed my boundaries and `made`me buy some `modern`fabric.  


I ended up using this fabric to make a lap quilt for my daughter.  These are NOT my usual colours, but she REALLY liked them.  So ... the name for this one is ... `Not My Box of Crayons - a Father`s Love`.



Some of the other fabric that I bought became a UFO.  I`m hoping to quilt it in a `plaid` pattern, which is far more ME than the fabric in the quilt!




And somehow, they even talked me into buying flannel!  Flannel is about my least favourite fabric to work with!  And somehow, they even got me to agree to use a pattern to make a quilt with!



This one is for my husband, Larry.  He is cold from September until June, I think ... so he likes this one.  A lot.  I called this one simply ... `Love For Larry`.  The smile on his face as he snuggles in this, makes the annoying feel of sewing flannel ... SO worth it!