In the unscheduled blog post I sent out two days ago, I warned you that we were in the middle of a blizzard and could very possibly lose power—and our internet—delaying this Saturday post. I thank those who were concerned about our warmth and safety, but we have a generator for back-up power (many people in Maine do) and would have stayed warm enough. No, what I was more worried about was getting this blog post out on schedule!

We probably got another foot of snow, hard to tell with all the drifting, but I don’t think the lights flickered even once. Tom and I have a superstition that if we make sure we have extra gas for the generator on hand, then we won’t need it. Now we could add that if we send out a warning notice that the blog post schedule is in danger of being interrupted, it’ll insure that the internet connections will stay up and running. But since I don’t want you to start rolling your eyes when you see another warning post in your mailbox—we seem to be on a storm path this year—here’s notice that if you don’t see my weekly post when you expect to, suspect uncooperative weather in (southern) Maine.

Now, back to quilting. This will be the third-week-in-a-row installment of Finish Line quilts that were started in past classes or by using one of my books as a guide. When I’m giving a class, taking photos of the works in progress is helpful for for both me and my students, giving a different perspective for viewing the project and assessing what direction to go with it.

When I can find them in my archives, I add those classroom photos to the finished quilt photos that my students are so kind to send me. It’s fun for me to see the transitions, and judging from past comments, I’d say you enjoy seeing them too. I still have a few more on hand, but will save them for another Finish Line post in the future. Thank you again to all who have participated these three weeks—and for others, keep sending me images of your finished quilts!

By the way, Happy 2018!

Empty Spools Seminars, Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA: March 2010

I teach for Empty Spools Seminars every year in beautiful Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula in California at the conference grounds of Asilomar State Park. Did you follow all that? It’s why we short-hand it to “Asilomar.”

A year ago in January 2017, I was teaching in Tucson, Arizona at Tanque Verde Ranch (teaching for Madeline Island School of the Arts (MISA) based in Minnesota). One of those days, a woman walked in with a quilt that looked familiar but definitely stretched my memory as to when I had seen it before. Turns out that Sue Bishop had taken one of my Asilomar classes in 2010! She saw that I was teaching near to where she lived, and wanted to show me the finished version. She was right. That’s her (above) in the opening photo of this post.

In last week’s post was another Asilomar otter mama and baby—they are pretty irresistible. Working in class, Sue got as far as the one pair, going on to add three more otters on her own. I think she did a great job with the receding perspective—keeping the lighter colors and values in the foreground, and darkening both otters and water as they drift to the back.

Otter family by Sue Bishop

Empty Spools Seminars, Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA: April 2015

Bambi Reile is another familiar face from Asilomar, this time from 2015, when she began a much-larger-than-life-size portrait of  her cat, Pumpkin. Solid colored animals pose a challenge when it comes to picking fabrics to use. After all, they’re only one color. But do they need to be? It’s your interpretation after all. Bambi’s choice of the cool color of aqua blues makes for great highlights on this solid colored “black” cat.

Bambi took my class again at Art Quilt Tahoe in November 2017. She brought Pumpkin back to quilt him in class, before starting on a second larger-than-life feline (in background above and in this AQT: On the Road post). Below is her finished cat quilt.
“Pumpkin” by Bambi Reile

Deb Albright (above and below left) and Kathy Sandling (above and below right) were also in that 2015 Asilomar class. When I returned last year, they were guest artists in a two-person art quilt exhibit at Back Porch Fabrics in Pacific Grove, CA. I stopped by on opening night, with the express intent of checking out the two quilts they had begun two years earlier. But wow! What a great showing of their many quilts. What’s not to love with all those colors.

In the class they had with me, Kathy worked on some very large sea shells—I do encourage people to “go big”—and she did.

I remember that one of Kathy’s goals was to create a nice up and down movement on the face of the scallop shell. So she kept the lighter values of aqua to the center of each ridge, with darker values as they sunk into the shadowed crease of the curves, giving dimension to the shell.

Seeing the finished quilt, I thought what she chose for the background was perfect—a simple beach sand base to set off all the intricacies of the shells themselves.

Beach shells by Kathy Sandling

Kathy’s friend, Deb Albright, came to class wanting to turn her quilting studio into a quilt. I readily admit that for myself, I don’t choose buildings for fabric collage subjects, though they pop up here and there in classes. I see fabric collage as an organic process, and architecture has lots of straight lines. However, I love the loose and not-so-straight approach Deb took.

Deb took lots of artistic liberty with this interpretation of the building that houses her studio. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if it really was those colors—and flowered? She told me it really does have a mermaid weather-vane on the roof, though not the same proportion. But that would be eye-catching too.

I have to now admit that this little quilt gets me thinking of my own studio building, with its eagle (from a family barn) weather-vane. Hmmmm, maybe someday…. From one studio to another, thanks for the inspiration, Deb.

Quilting studio by Deb Albright
“I AM” by Deb Albright—exhibited in her show with Kathy. Deb took the spiral design inspiration in my “Serendipity Quilts” book to a very spiritual level—a beautiful and engaging quilt.
Quilt label from the reverse of “I AM”

When I asked Deb and Kathy for photo images of their display quilts, Deb also sent the one below, “Divine Mother Within and Without.” A beautiful translation of an ancient symbol. She also sent the photo to the right and wrote, ” I went and saw a woman named Deva Premal and her partner Miten, lots of chanting and very cool music. Their backdrop was the inspiration for the background of Divine Mother.”

The Quilt Gallery, Kalispell, MT: June, 2014

The Quilt Gallery in Kalispell, Montana has been another annual stop of mine for a few years running. In 2014 I met Julie Sherrick, working on her lovely black Lab. Another example of finding a great alternate color for fabric choices, in this case, the red fabric still reads as a dark value.

Last year in June 2017, Julie attended my class in Kalispell again, working on a second pup portrait, a German Shepherd, which you can see in-progress here. One of those work days, she brought in her finished red Labrador. I loved the background treatment of big flowers—like a fabric bouquet. I look forward to seeing how her second dog turns out!

Red Lab by Julie Sherrick

The Quilt Gallery, Kalispell, MT: June, 2016

Joan Hodgeboom was the original owner of The Quilt Gallery—it changed hands in 2017, but you’d never know it. The staff is still the same, the shop is still chock-full of luscious fabrics, and Joan was in my class again. In 2017, she worked on a vulture quilt with a great story—an unfortunate event—but a good story. You can read all about it here.

But back in 2016, Joan set her sights on cattle, a longhorn to be exact.

She made good use of the fluid and highly patterned prints of Aboriginal fabrics for areas such as the legs and face details. Look at those hooves!

As the (now former) owner of a quilt shop, it must be even harder to decide which fabrics to use—an enviable dilemma for sure! But Joan narrowed down her choices to some choice batik prints to combine with the Aboriginal print selections.

Longhorn by Joan Hodgeboom

Mary Roper has been a past student, and also a past and current employee of The Quilt Gallery. In 2016 she was able to take my class and threw color to the wind with her rainbow moose. Mary always seems to be smiling or laughing—and baked me an awesome vegan cake while I was there. The playfulness of her fabrics seemed quite appropriate with her personality.

This is a big fellow, and Mary got quite far along in the 5-day class.
When I returned a year later, Mary brought back her completed quilt to show me and the new batch of students. We were duly impressed.

A black and white background—in this case, a NYC print—made a good color contrast to the rainbow ruminant. Somewhere in that murky water below him can be found a fussy-cut skeleton, an homage to the many skeletons that could surely be found in the Hudson River.

Moose by Mary Roper

Susan Carlson Quilting Retreat Portland, Maine: October, 2017

I will end this display of quilts with a magical creature by Kaye Burns. If her name or work looks familiar, it’s because she’s attended a few of my classes and retreats—and finishes the quilts soon afterward. You’ve seen Kaye’s work in previous “Finish Line” posts—her Pegasus horse and Coral ReefLiberty BellChief Dan GeorgeRobert Duvall as Gus McRae in Lonesome Dove, and most recently Moose.

This year I saw Kaye in October 2017, at my Portland, Maine Advanced Quilt Retreat. She arrived with the fabric collage below already started, based on original artwork (with permission) of Josephine Wall.

Kaye used the retreat time to work on the woman’s figure, and to complete the horse and background.
Details of finished quilt. Kaye did a lovely job portraying the movement in this piece with extra care given to the flowing mane, hair and clothing of these fantasy figures.

In the background of the quilt (and in the inspirational artwork as well) are legions of flying insects. Kaye was just beginning to create this swarm of winged creatures when I last saw the quilt last October. I love the finished result.

Kaye aptly named this quilt, “Pure Joy.” I thought it would be the perfect quilt to end with, and to finish the three week trio of Finish Line blog posts that began in 2017 and took us into 2018. On January 1st, there was a beautiful full “supermoon” in the night sky (like in Kaye’s quilt), which led us into the new year. And a winged unicorn? I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind some magical possibilities. Here’s to brightness, magic, and joy for 2018.

“Pure Joy” by Kaye Burns


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