Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bonnie McCaffery’s new VidCast features Janet and Susan

by Susan Brubaker Knapp

For the past few years, award-winning quilter Bonnie McCaffery (well known for her Painted Faces and DigiBobbE techniques) has been interviewing quilters and producing videos, which she posts on her website. In May, she interviewed me and Janet at Spring Quilt Market in Pittsburgh.

Bonnie’s just posted the VidCast, and you can now see it on her website!

For a complete list of Bonnie’s VidCasts, click here. You’ll find interviews with some amazing quilters, including Charlotte Warr Andersen, Maggie Weiss, Paula Nadelstern, Robbie Joy Eklow, Terry White, Larkin Van Horn, Isabelle Baydova, Maggie Grey, Denise Tallon Harlan, Ellen Lindner, Sue Nickels, Linda Schmidt, Ferret, Jenny Bowker, Melinda Schwakofer, Ricky Tims, Esterita Austin, Alex Anderson, and Caryl Bryer Fallert.

Bonnie is a fantastic teacher, a very talented quilter, and a really great person. It was an honor to be interviewed by her. Thanks, Bonnie!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Orchid Progress!

a post from Debbie Langsam

I'm finally seeing real progress on two of my orchid pieces....

They're is black and white, the other is color. And both are inspired by this lovely image posted by "geishaboy500/THOR" on Creative Commons.

It's a
terrific close-up showing the center of a typical orchid flower. The "landing platform" is an inviting perch for pollinating insects passing by. A pretty clever evolutionary adaptation.

A little Photoshop magic helped me saturate the colors and emphasize the edges so that they'd be apparent in the finished mosaic.

This is now the "target image," the image that viewers will see when they look at the piece from a distance.

I've now
subdivided the target image into 12 8"x9" rectangular sections and made each of those sections into a "mini-mosaic." The tiles for the mosaic come from a collection of about 100 photos that I've collected of orchids and orchid-related images."

The "mini-mosaic"
on the right is the upper left hand corner of the piece....

And on the left, is a close-up of 4 of the "tiles.Starting on the upper left and moving clockwise:

Antoine Hinain's cross section of an orchid root as seen under the microscope.Steve Conry's orchid closeup; a greenhouse in Curitiba, Brazil by Marcus Guimaraes; and a Jewel orchid by JonBoy Mitchell.

So now I'm at the point of putting the pieces together, row-by-row. Here's a row composed of 3 "mini-mosaics" pieced side by side. This is actually the second of the 4 rows that will eventually make up the piece.

Eventually, if all goes w
ell, the finished piece will look something like the image at the right.

I'll keep you updated....

A happy and a healthy 2010 to all....


Monday, December 28, 2009

Pink Petal Party featured in Machine Quilting Unlimited

by Susan Brubaker Knapp

My friend Sarah Ann Smith has been writing a series on the elements and principles of design for machine quilters for Machine Quilting Unlimited magazine. The most recent installment is “Depth and Dimension through Contours, Rhythm and Repetition” in the January 2010 issue. When Sarah was writing this column, she was looking for examples from both traditional quilts and art quilts, and asked if she could include my quilt, Pink Petal Party. How nice!

Sarah notes that the dense quilting in the background helps to concentrate attention on the focal point, the vase of pansies. She also points out the realistic stitching on the pansies, and the stitching on the vase, where vertical lines cover the whole vase and horizontal lines come in from the left and right sides, making the center appear to come forward.

The article features photos of beautiful work by Sarah and Suzanne Sanger to illustrate her wonderfully informative column.

Machine Quilting Unlimited has a great mix of articles for long-arm machine quilters as well as for those of us who use regular home sewing machines. And there’s a nice balance of traditional quilting and art quilting. In the January issue, there’s a great profile of Laura Wasilowski, whose work is featured on the front cover.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Working on another orchid

by Susan Brubaker Knapp

Here’s how my latest orchid piece is coming along. It is another painted piece, and I struggled with the water droplets, but I’m pretty happy with them now.

Here is the photo I am working from:

Quilting starts soon.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Purple Phalaenopsis in progress

by Susan Brubaker Knapp

Today, I finished painting my next orchid piece for the Fiber Art Options exhibition. It is a purple phalaenopsis orchid painted with acrylic paints on Pimatex PFD (prepared for dyeing) cotton, which has a very tight weave and accepts paint well.

This piece will be about 24 x36" when it is finished. I am very pleased with how the painting turned out, and I can’t wait to start stitching on it!

I started with this photo that I took a year or so ago:

The photo I printed out, from which I worked as I painted, had a good deal more pink and red tones in it, which showed up in my painted version. I think I’m going to use a lot of bright purple thread to unify it a bit. The painted surface has so much detail that I’m not going to do my normal thread sketching on this piece. I’m just going to machine quilt it pretty heavily.

I’m so excited that I fear I will have to force myself to go to bed tonight, and not stay up until the wee hours working on it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Embellished Travel Journal

Like Susan (see below) I am also in the middle of teaching a workshop at Joggles.

This 3 session workshop is an action packed mixed media project and is based on my Alaska Travel Journal - see Quilting Arts 10/11 2007.

This class includes machine hand and machine sewing, collage, book binding & beaded edging - here are some action shots taken from the class. It can give you an idea of what an online workshop is like.

One of the new journals featured in this workshop is based on a "Good-bye Dinner" for some friends who were leaving the country. Instead of tickets, maps and travel photos, this journal is full of recipes from the dinner, photos of our friends, and a good-bye sign-in page with well wished and signatures.

It would also be fun to make a journal for a first baby
birthday, or other "historic" event.

It is great fun to take a workshop online. You can work on your own schedule and interact with the teacher and other students using online postings.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Artists' Forum at the Mint Museum tomorrow night

Please come hear two Fiber Art Options members, Susan Brubaker-Knapp and Janet Lasher at the Mint Museum 2730 Randolph Road, Charlotte
tomorrow evening December 1st, 7-8:30pm for a discussion of our fiber art.

This program is presented through the Mint Museum's First Tuesdays forum and is free to all.
We will be talking about our artistic approach, techniques and slides of our work. Q&A will follow the slide presentations

More about Susan at and more about Janet at

This program is being offered in conjunction with the exhibition American Quilt Classics 1800-1980: The Bressler Collection which will hang through February 6th, 2010.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Tis the season for art, continued....PJ's latest

I will be participating again in the 4th annual Denver (NC!) Art Trail on Dec 5 and 6. Forty-three Denver - area artists and guest artists are opening their studios or displaying their works in local businesses so that you can enjoy their latest creations. For more info see

Please come to see my mixed media pins, wall hangings, and journal covers at the Blue Heron B&B. -PJ-

Sunday, November 15, 2009

House Rules 2

I am in the middle of teaching an online course on how to make this little art quilt (“House Rules 2” on It features my whole family, pets included. (Yes, I made myself skinnier and with fewer wrinkles!) The figures are drawn on white fabric with pencil, then colored in with watercolor pencils, and moistened with a wet paintbrush before drawing the outlines with a Micron Pigma pen. The amount of water in the paintbrush determines how much the color bleeds out. You can see this in the difference between the eye and the cheeks in my sun, below:

There is a ton of handwork in this piece. The figures are done with needleturn applique, and all the “chicken scratch” quilting in the background took about six hours to complete.

I framed this piece in an inexpensive frame purchased at Ikea, after stitching it to the mat:

I really like the way it looks in the frame. Now to find the perfect spot to hang it!

– Susan Brubaker Knapp

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A post from Debbie:

As Nancy's last post indicates...'tis the season for exhibits and shows of all types.

This Saturday, November 14th, the Charlotte Art Collective will be having its fall/holiday show. I'll be there with fabric art: quilts and wearables (including the scarf on the left in the middle).

Barking Dog Chocolatiers will be represented by hubby Joal Fischer. (the 3 marbleized hemispheres in the upper left hand corner are actually chocolates).

If you're a local or just passing through the Charlotte area, do plan to join us from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m at Avondale Presbyterian Church (2821 Park Road about a mile north of the Park Road Shopping Center in Charlotte).

With 18 other artists - showing everything from jewelry to turned wood to pottery - it promises to be an exciting opportunity for holiday shopping or just to sample the chocolate and enjoy the rest of the "eye candy" on display.

I hope to see you there....

Debbie Langsam

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Ups and Downs of Entries

This has been been a wild couple of weeks. I have entered a number of juried exhibitions; both art shows and art quilt shows. The results are win some, lose some. I did not get into Elements, while not unexpected, it was still a real disappointment.

I recently joined the Charlotte Art League and had one piece accepted for their Fall into Art juried show. The photo below shows a detail of the accepted piece.

Winter Fruit detail

Three of my winter pieces will be in an international juried art exhibition, Winter Whites, at the Ciel Gallery here in Charlotte, NC.

Here are details of two of the pieces in that show.
Reclamation, detail

Winter Confection III detail

Photos of the full size quilts are on my website: .

Below is the e-invitation to the show. Reclamation is the lower right detail in the collage. Ciel Gallery (1519 Camden Road) is next door to CAL (1517 Camden Road) and the openings are both this Friday from 6-9. I will be skipping back and forth between the two venues. At least they are not across town from each other.

If you are in the area, I hope to see you at the openings.

Observation: The major difference in the jurying process for these art exhibitions and the art quilt exhibitions has been the length of time that submitted work is tied up waiting on jury results. The art shows let the artists know the results within a week; the art quilt shows take months to let the artist know, thereby tying up entered works for months even for work that is rejected.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pink Petal Party wins Best of Show

My quilt “Pink Petal Party,” which is the focus of my new book, Appliqué Petal Party, just won Best of Show at the Lake Norman Quilters’ 2009 show. Wish I'd worn a different shirt tonight; it is hard to tell where the quilt stops and I start in this photo. :-)

We hung the show tonight and it is going to be fabulous. (Please see my previous post for more information on the show.)

– Susan Brubaker Knapp

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lake Norman Quilters’ show is this weekend

The Lake Norman Quilters’ show is this Friday and Saturday in Mooresville, NC. Grace Howes and I are both members of this group. It is going to be a beautiful show, with more than 230 quilts. If you are in the area, I do hope you’ll come!

Friday, Oct. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 31
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
East Mooresville Intermediate School
1711 Landis Highway, Mooresville NC 28115

For directions to the show or more information, please go to the Lake Norman Quilters’ webpage. It contains a downloadable PDF with a map and general information.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

October is "Barnful of Quilts" Time....

a post from Debbie...

"Barnful of Quilts" is becoming a lovely October tradition for quilters in this part of the world and I was delighted to be asked to participate for a second year...

"Barnful..." is the brai
nchild of Valerie Fox who raises El Escondito Paso Fino horses on her farm in Waxhaw, NC. (a decidedly "exotic" locale for a city born and bred northerner). Once a year, Valerie organizes friends and members of her church and the neighboring community to clean out her beautiful barn for this fundraising event.

Quilt artists (traditional and contemporary) are invited to display their work -- on walls, in stalls, in the exercise ring
...basically any available surface or space. And along with vendors, a silent auction, a bake sale, and horses looking on from nearby pastures -- it adds up to a festive day-long treat for all.

My work was in a perfect spot -- the front entrance wall; ideal, because folks entering the show can see my photomosaic pieces from a distance and then come close to see the details

Here's Valerie taking a (very rare) break to view my pieces....

For this show, I displayed some framed mini-quilts from a new series of "urban silhouettes." The silhouettes are not specific to any particular city --- but, barn locale or not, I guess my New York roots peek out in the two below.

These are both from the "winter series:"

Winter Dawn


Winter Night

For more pictures of "Barnful of Quilts," check out the images at
Valerie's website, the ones taken by her daughter, very talented photographer Whitney Gray and those by Ellen Guerrant (last year's feature artist), whose "stall" of fabulous quilts and hand-dyes were once again hard to resist..

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Susan’s space featured in Studios magazine

by Susan Brubaker Knapp

My studio is featured in the Fall 2009 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors’ Studios magazine!

There’s lots to love about this issue:
  • a feature about a converted factory that is now an artists’ enclave in Pennsylvania
  • tips on hosting an Open Studios event
  • photos of more than 20 artists’ studios to inspire your own space
  • fun projects, tips, tricks, and storage solutions
Get your copy at a local newsstand, or order one at the Interweave online store. The price is $7.99.

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Work

A few weeks ago I joined the SAQA Visioning project. This is a step by step, year long project that participating SAQA members will use to define one long term goal to help them move forward in their art careers.

My goal is to to define my artistic voice, to work towards narrowing down a couple of processes/techniques I want to use consistently in my work. From time to time I will report my progress.

This week I finished quilting 2 new pieces. The small red work below has been sitting waiting for some quilting. I find I enjoy the linear look of evenly spaced quilting lines and, of course, these colours always intrigue me.

The 2nd quilt is a definitely a departure from the warm colours I usually gravitate towards. For this piece I did a little experimentation with discharge paste. I cut circles in a freezer paper stencil and ironed it on to the quilt top, making sure the inner edges of the circles were completely sealed.

I find this is a much easier way to discharge fabric than using liquid or gel bleach. The paste (from Dharma Trading Co) is a gel medium consistency that I brushed over the stencil with a foam brush, waited for it to dry, gave it a good steaming then washed it out.

I will experiment with this some more to see if I get any different results that would vary the amount of discharge. Even though I prefer not to use the noxious bleach I will still do more comparisons with that tool as well.

~ Grace ~

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Indian Corn

Indian Corn (2009) 14 x 11.5"

This is a small piece I just completed this weekend. Earlier this week, I created a stamp of the corn pattern using Fun Foam mounted on a cylinder. I made stamps using both the positive parts (kernels) and negative parts (spaces between the kernels) of the design. You can read more about the techniques and materials I used for this piece on my blog post here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Yes, Virginia, PJ does still make stuff!

Last week, I enjoyed 3 days of workshops with Barbara Olson. I have not yet finished my straight-lined spiral from her cosmic spirals workshops, but here's my finished "organic" spiral. I really simplified her pattern by removing half of the seam lines and piecing the background far more simply than she does.

I've also jumped out of the box with some odd wire figures. That's Virginia in the middle (so named because of the state map I used for her hat and body); Scarlet on the left (for her color, of course); and Winka on the right (there's a small W on her hat). Yes, the wire is leftover from when our house was built; and, those are recycled CDs as stands.

Friday, September 4, 2009

On the set at Quilting Arts TV

by Susan Brubaker Knapp

Pokey Bolton, editor of Quilting Arts magazine, and me, getting ready to shoot my first segment.

I just returned from Cleveland, where I was shooting two segments for Quilting Arts TV, and a Quilting Arts Workshop DVD. What a wonderful, nerve-wracking, exhilarating couple of days! You can read more about my adventures and see lots more photos of the amazing artists I met there on my blog.

Susan and Janet to speak at The Mint Museum

On December 1, Janet A. Lasher and Susan Brubaker Knapp will be guest speakers at The Mint Museum’s Artists’ Forum. These events are designed to give area artists a platform to discuss their work as well as current issues and activities in their artistic fields.

The forum is being held in conjunction with American Quilt Classics, 1800-1980: The Bresler Collection, showing at the Mint Museum of Craft + Design now through February 6, 2010. The collection includes spectacular examples of Baltimore Album quilts, crazy quilts, Chintz pictorial quilts, Amish quilts and log cabin quilts.


Tuesday, Dec. 1

7 to 8:30 p.m.

Mint Museum of Art

2730 Randolph Road

Cost: free

(You can click on the image above to see an enlargement of the flyer.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

An Update from Linda

The Kerr Grabowski workshop in Fall River Mass. was wonderful - I had a great time and learned a lot. The facility is an old
manufacturing building but was roomy, very bright due to large windows and air conditioned!

Kerr is an excellent teacher and I would recommend her classes to anyone interested in deconstructed screen printing.

After returning, I have been working on
"Blue Orchid" and am almost finished except for adding the aerial roots and labellum, without having it look too "Georgia O'Keefesh".


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Another solo show....

An update from Debbie

Last Friday was definitely "Davidson Day." Nancy was in Davidson, NC being feted at a reception for her show at the Wooden Stone Gallery. And I was on North Davidson Street in Charlotte (also known as "NoDa") enjoying the mid-August gallery crawl that included my solo show at Beet Contemporary Craft and Functional Art Gallery.

Beet is a lovely space featuring an eclectic and a wonderfully beautiful mix of jewelry, glass, ceramics, wood, metal, and fiber arts.

And owner Nancy Neely is incredibly generous in inviting artists to mount month-long shows in the middle room of the gallery.

There was a good crowd on Friday night -- with folks wandering in and out of the galleries, munching on snacks and relaxing with a little wine.

The show's title, "Stitched: An Artquilt Journey," probably says it all. It's a sampling of quilts (and styles) that I've been doing over the past few years.

There's a wall (and then some) of abstracts:

(I've got some new abstracts as part of the show...I'll plan to report on them in another post....)

There's also a wall of "urban images:"

These fiber pieces feature photos of some iconic Charlotte (NC) hangouts.

The hangouts are gathering places that cross color and class lines -- where bankers mix with bikers and lawyers share a beer with construction workers.

The images that have been transferred to fabric and made up into quilts (either free hanging, or framed)

And finally, there's a wall of photomosaic quilts (I'm "posing" in this one -- hot, sweaty and a bit pooped after helping to hang the show):

The newest photomosaics are the first two in the picture -- They're titled "Out of the Mouths of Babes." (one is "Tomato Lips" and the other is "Grape Lips" --- guess which one is which....)

I've been thinking about these quilts for a while (and probably working on them even longer).

As you can see... from a distance, the image is of a pair of lips

A close-up view shows that the quilt is actually made up of small 1/2 x 1/2" photos of women...from Jane Austen to Miss Piggy to Benazir Bhutto to Babe Zacharias (one of the first female golf pros).

(This photo shows a section of the unquilted surface)

On the back of the quilt is a photo key/index that shows each woman, some information about her, and a quote attributed to her.

Because I got to be "Queen of the World" (or at least "Queen Quiltmaker") while making the quilt, I picked the women and quotes that appealed to me -- because they were poignant, thought-provoking, inspiring, or just plain funny. It's been an interesting journey.

I'll end this entry with a small sampling of some of my favorites:

"When I sing, I don't want them to see that my face is black. I don't want them to see that my face is white. I want them to see my soul. And that is colorless."
Marian Anderson - 1st African American Metropolitan Opera singer and star.

"A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water."
Eleanor Roosevelt - Humanitarian, American 1st Lady

"I would be the most content if my children grew up to the be kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves."
Anna Quindlen - Writer, Journalist

"My doctors told me I would never walk again. My mother told me I would. I believed my mother."
Althea Gibson - Athlete (track)

"It's not enough just to swing at the ball. You've got to loosen your girdle and let 'er fly."
Babe Zacharias - Athlete (golf)

Cheers to all,