Friday, November 16, 2012

IQA Postings on Blog

Susan Brubaker Knapp and I have been posting on the IQA Festival in Houston. If you are interested you might want to check out our blogs.

Today I posted on trends seen at Festival. The quilt above Tulips Afire by Susan Stewart had several of them.

Check my blog at


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Book Reviews and Give Aways

I am doing a series of book reviews and give aways on my blog. They are being published on the 5, 10, 15, 20 of the month with a 5 day window for leaving comments. Some of the books are strictly for beaders, but others are for us fabric lovers as well.

Please visit my blog and leave a comment in order to be considered for the randomly selected give aways.
The current book is: Making Fabric Jewelry. It is a real delight.

Check out the reviews on


Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Sketch - Eggplants

Last week Debbie Langsam and I were at dinner with our husbands where these little orange eggplants were one of the vegetables served with lamb pops. Thanks to the chef, I was able to take a small group home with me to make this little sketch. And yes they are really orange, with a few greenish stripes.  Anyone ever seen these before?


Monday, August 20, 2012

A cat portrait

“Friso” (2012) by Susan Brubaker Knapp

“Friso,” a portrait  of my friend Lya’s cat, is done! This is a 10-3/4" x 13-1/4" wholecloth painted piece that is heavily thread sketched. You can read about the painting process in this blog post and this one. The thread really gives him texture and you can almost feel the fur looking at it.

“Friso” detail (2012) by Susan Brubaker Knapp
When I was thread sketching him, the piece started to go a bit wonky on me, because I was doing so much heavy thread work on the fur. When I teach, I often get questions about how much wonkyness to expect. With my technique, I don't put my work in a hoop. I rely on a fairly stiff but lightweight interfacing underneath the painted surface to keep it from drawing up and puckering. Even then, I still get some wave in the piece. Usually when I distribute the threadwork evenly over the surface, it helps reduce this. I thought I’d show you how much this piece was waving early on in the process:

Of course, my cat Wicked had to  take a closer look. With her black and white markings, she looks a lot like Friso, but has half a mustache and half a goatee.

“Friso” is already on its way to Lya in the Netherlands.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Urban Renewal: Celebrating Uptown

I just finished a very small piece (emphasis on the "very" -- it's 5" x 7") that I started in March at a Valerie Goodwin "Famous Places" workshop.

 I love the architectural aesthetic that Valerie brings to her own work and to her teaching:  maps and blueprints, her use of line, the ways in which she incorporates map symbols and architectural elements into her pieces.   

"Urban Renewal" came out of a warm-up exercise that Valerie assigned.  She asked us to create a simple in which two "structure" words (nouns) were linked by a verb.  The possibilities are endless:  "bridge crosses river," "islands dot ocean,""path meets forest edge."  The challenge was to take that sentence and interpret it in fabric.

I decided to celebrate changes in uptown Charlotte (NC) with the following sentence:  "Tracks revive city streets."

For many years, uptown Charlotte was a carbon copy of many urban centers:  a once bustling shopping district abandoned in favor of outlying malls and suburban living.  Over the past decade, however, Uptown (this time with a capital "U") is back with a vengeance.  A sleek new lightrail system (The Lynx)... transporting people to center city - to restaurants and stores, a fabulous museum district, and multiple performance spaces.

Perhaps it's my city roots and those countless subway rides from Brooklyn to Manhattan, but for me, the tracks bisecting Charlotte are synonymous with uptown's resurgence and city life at its best.   And this piece seemed an ideal way to highlight the "new" uptown.

"Urban Renewal"

 Materials:  cotton, crinoline, satin ribbon, silk, burnout velvet, organza, beaded embellishment


Valerie suggested that we incorporate our inspiration sentence into the piece.  It seemed appropriate to place it right along the fabric tracks....

Tracks revive city streets.

But I also added another that would also show how the city has welcomed the changes brought on by the Lynx: 

City streets embrace tracks.

It brings back memories of those hours on the old Lexington Avenue IRT

File:Nyc transit authority token.png.

Cheers to all!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative

I have several small fiber art pieces on sale here

All proceeds from these sales go to Alzheimer's research.  -PJ-

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A little change of pace....

I like an excuse to stroll down a quilting path that I rarely explore.

Friends, Dan and Marcie, gave me the excuse to play in the world of nursery-land when they recently welcomed the arrival of their first born:  daughter Olive Avery (great name!).

I don't do many baby quilts and, typically, I enjoy designing the quilts that I make.   

But this project gave me a chance to window-shop through various patterns (I eventually chose Elizabeth Hartman's "Frames") and use some of the wonderful fabrics - including the large graphic prints and neutral colored backgrounds -  now popular within the Modern Quilt movement.  

An aside here:   I know, I know...people quibble about the Modern Quilt rage.  Some bristle at the name (contending that we're all "modern" quilters), others argue that this isn't anything new, still others question whether "Modern Quilters" are really "serious" quilters or whether "Modern Quilts" are "art."

My short answer:  Who cares?   Anything that gets people interested in quilting, in being creative, in having fun with fabric - that's all good.  And I'd like a nickel for all the slings and arrows that have been thrown over the millennia in the name of defining "art."  (BTW:  for a wonderful thought-provoking look at definitions of art, values, and friendship try to find a revival of the 1998 Tony Award-winning stage play "Art.")

Back to the Baby Quilt:  .
The quilt is now finished and mailed.  Yay!

Avery's Menagerie (Front)
Elephant close-up

Avery's Menagerie (Back)

With wishes that Olive Avery enjoys a long, healthy, happy, peaceful, and fulfilling life.... 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Still working small....

About a month ago I blogged about satisfying shoe envy with some small (4"x4") quilted pieces of vibrantly colored and impossibly high stiletto-heeled pumps, all mounted in wooden frames.   

Surprise!  I found that I liked working small.  It was fun and it was freeing --- a pleasant break from my usual process (plan and cogitate, cogitate and plan, repeat ad infinitum). 

I didn't have to "commit" to a giant project;  instead, I was allowing myself to casually "date" around....a little sewing promiscuity, if you will, that gave me a chance to dance with a variety of different partners. 

I had a chance to rework some unused abstract blocks created for other projects:  

Gold and Orange Abstract
Purple Abstract

Play with some skylines:
Charlotte Skyline

 Big City Skyline

and have fun with little landscapes (I've never particularly enjoyed creating larger landscapes, but these minis were very satisfying):

Crop Fields

Moonlight close-up

Purple mountain close-up

By themselves, I have to admit, these "quiltlettes" could look pretty unimpressive...a bit like coasters for a beer mug collection.  But place them in a frame -- and suddenly you have a little art quilt (in fact, several were sold a couple of weeks ago at the Charlotte Art Collective Spring Show).

Interestingly, I think I'm ready to return from my fling (at least for the time being).  I feel refreshed and I may even be ready to commit to one of those big "cogitate and plan;  plan and cogitate" projects  

Wishing you all a good holiday weekend!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Charlotte Art Collective Spring Show!

 It's spring and that means that it's time for the Charlotte Art Collective's Annual Spring Show.  The Collective is a great group of artists, producing a great mix of art:  fiber, ceramics, painting,  jewelry, metalwork, photography, and more. 

if you happen to be in Charlotte...
if you need some last minute Mother's Day, graduation, or wedding gifts...
if you'd like to treat yourself to a little "Spring Celebration" indulgence...
if you just want to enjoy a little eye candy...

...stop by 2821 Park Road (Avondale Presbyterian Church) between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM, say hello, and have some fun. 

To learn more about the collective, check out this story from the Charlotte Observer.  

Hope to see you on Saturday,


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Love Jewelry?

Lark Crafts sent me a copy of Showcase 500 rings to review. Leave a comment on this post by May 13th with a way to contact you, and you will be entered into a drawing for the a copy of the book.

My DH fell on this book just from seeing the images on the cover and devoured the eye candy before I was able to pull it away from him. While few of these rings might be actually worn, they are highly creative and inspiring to view. The uniqueness  of the rings lies in design, concept, techniques and materials. While some jewelers use gold, precious metals and stones, and others use everyday items like paper, hook-and-loop tape and synthetic rubber insulation tubing. Techniques are also diverse, including carving and photo etching to hot forging and welding.

Bruce Metcalf served as juror and worked to compile a highly diverse set of jewelry for the edition. He brings a wealth of experience to the job. Marthe Le Van is the senior content editor for Lark Jewelry & Beading. She has written, edited, juried, or curated more than 60 books since 2000.

While I  have scanned the book, my enjoyable task this next week is to read it cover to cover before I give it up to a reader and commenter.

This is another of the terrific books in the 500 series. Well worth buying and loving.

Don't forget, leave a comment and check back on the 13th to see if you won the book! 


Friday, April 20, 2012

Shoe Envy and Quilts....

Shoe Envy 1:  Red polka-dot pump
I'm working on satisfying a bit of shoe envy with a bit of quilting....

The shoe envy comes, at least partially from having "herring-boxes without topses" feet:  size 12-12.5.

Throughout my life, I've always been just a step behind (pun intended) the shoe industry.  When my feet were a size 10, the size 10's were few and far between;  when 10's appeared on the scene, I was an 11.  Now you can find 11's and even 12's, but most are medium width and --- you got it --- I'm a narrow!

And then again, I'm 5'10" tall.  My husband is 5'6".  I wear heels, but they're only modestly high -- 2 inches or so at most.  Let's face it, a 4 or 5 inch heel, makes it look look as though I've married the guy on the wedding cake topper (hubby and I both enjoy a good laugh over that).

And of course, there's lifestyle.  Truly, how much wear am I going to get out of a pair of chartreuse  polka-dot stilettos with 5 inch heels, gold platforms and a big purple flower on the toe?  And let's not even talk budget.

So I'm satisfying my shoe envy in a 2 dimensional way. 

The inspiration came from a recent visit by Sandra Smith to the Charlotte Quilter's Guild.  Her "Commission for Sylvia" is a wonderfully whimsical collection of colorful, quirky and fabulous shoes.

Ah finally --- a way to scratch my shoe envy itch.  I can play with fabrics, have a little fun, and not worry about shoe width. 

I'm using the same basic techniques I described for the little "Have A Heart" pieces I blogged about a while back.  I'm making them small...about 4" by 4" and placing them in a frame.

One of the original ads

For the shoes, I start with magazines and catalogs - looking for likely candidates to sketch and trace (usually a combination of both).

Initial sketch/tracing

The sketches are scanned into the computer so I can resize them to be compatible with my small format.

 Then, resized image in hand, I trace the various shoe parts (heel and sole, inner lining, and so forth) onto lightweight "Wonder-Under"....

Preparing the "Wonder-Under"

...and follow up with the usual steps:  cutting out raw edge applique pieces, ironing them onto the background, adding batting (I actually use Timtex for extra thickness and stability) and backing, and stitching away.

Here's a close-up of the red polka-dot pumps...get a load of the silver lame!

In addition to the red polka-dot shoes, there's a pair of black polka-dotted ones with some couched perl cotton between the upper and lower portions of the shoe:

Shoe Envy 2:  black polka-dot shoe

shoe close-up

and also a yellow/orange and raspberry pump (with some purple bling):

Unframed Shoe Envy 3:  yellow/orange and raspberry pump

Close-up of yellow/orange pump

What will I do with my "closet full" of new shoes?  I'm hoping they'll make nice little Mother's Day gifts to sell at an upcoming (May 12) Charlotte Art Collective show (stay tuned, more on that in another post).

The good news is that they're one-size-fits-all.

Have a great weekend,


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

2012 Charlotte Quilt Show

 This past weekend, the Charlotte Quilter's Guild held its yearly (well, mostly yearly) quilt show...over 250 quilts, about 40 vendors, lots of happy attendees, and lots of fun.

This year's show was judged by Kathy Sullivan and Laura Patridge --- and Fiber Art Option members did pretty well (including a "Best of Show") are some of the ribbon highlights:

Any Woman...Every Woman by Debbie Langsam  (image on quilt adapted from a photo by Arindam Bhattacharya) (1st Place:  Pictorial Quilt;  Honorable Mention for Artistic Merit from Mint Hill Arts,  Small Quilt Best of Show)

Cymbidium by Linda Stegall  (3rd Place:  Pictorial Quilt)

 Yellow Orchid by Linda Stegall  (2nd place:  Art Quilt)
Orchids Squared:  Purple Passion by Debbie Langsam (3rd Place:  Small Pieced Quilt)

Blue Orchid by Linda Stegall  (Honorable Mention:  Art Quilt)

Meadow Frost by Debbie Langsam (1st Place:  Art Quilt)
(images on the quilt were adapted from an original photo by Ralph Hockens)

Meadow Twilight by Debbie Langsam (1st Place:  Little Quilt)

 For more quilt show highlights check out Mary Jerz' blog "Seamless Expressions."  (Be sure to look at Mary's award winning quilt while you're there -- fun, fun, fun).



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Susan Brubaker Knapp here. I’ve been a busy bee lately – at least when it comes to making art – but I see I haven’t posted lately! Here are some photos of two new pieces. This first one is called “I See the Moon.” It is 24" x 60". You can read about how I made it on my blog starting here and going back in time in earlier posts. Here are some detail shots:

This next one is called “Passion Flower.” It is 15" x 19-1/4", and is one of two projects I am creating for my Once in a Blue Moon Fiber Art Retreat, which will be Oct. 4-7 in Black Mountain, near Asheville, NC. You can see how I made it by reading my blog posts starting here and working your way back to earlier posts.

I’m working on the second project for my retreat now. It is based on a photo I took at a farm stand several years ago, and features heirloom pumpkins. Come and watch my progress on my blog!