Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Show is Over

This happens every time at the conclusion of a show.  For months and sometimes years, I have prepared for an exhibit. The opening is a thrill, because the work is hanging on the walls and it looks so wonderful.  I can't believe that I have created all that stuff!

Then the end of the show arrives, everything comes off the walls of the gallery, and it gets packed up to go home. It's over.  Then this cloud seems to hover over your life.  It took so much preparation and it's over, another artist or group arrives to hang their show in your place.  So I'm feeling the downturn in my spirits.  Now when this happens, I'm not surprised and I understand what is going on.

This time, we are experiencing this wonderful very early warm spring in Wisconsin and I can go out and dig, rake and transplant! This is a sure thing, it makes me feel really good.
Hepatica, a wild flower that is filling a spot near an old stump on a hillside.
Little sprouts of May Apples are pushing through the leaves.
Here is a cluster of May Apples that are beginning to open.  Soon when will be like umbrellas that are knee high.
There are daffodils and narcissus everywhere. 

The King Alfred Daffodils bloom outside the windows of my studio.  On a warm day the fragrance is wonderful.

These white primroses have never bloomed for me.

These little primroses have never been so beautiful.  It must be the mild winter and early spring that has made them so large and colorful.
These purple ones are always the first to open up.  I usually find them in mid April when I push the leave aside and find them. 
All these flowers and brilliant colors have boosted my spirits, and when the weather is warm enough, I am in full gardening mode.  My quilting will have to wait!

Ann Fahl

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The End is Near

Again, a long awaited show is coming to a conclusion.  Quilts in Color, closes this Sunday March 25.  You still have a couple days to get there.  Here is my "fireplace" photo.  Another View, is included in my book, A Black and White Tale, and is hanging in the parlor of the Anderson Arts Center.
Flamingo Garden, Purple Iris, Smelling the Flowers
Gallery View
Another deadline.  For those of you interested in my Free-Motion Quilting Tutorial, the termination is March 31.  If you'd like to read it go to this link. Thanks to SewCalGal for putting this challenge on the web.

I'm going outside to work in my garden now.

Ann Fahl

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pulling from the Past

The new issue of The Quilt Life, April 2012 is out on news stands now.  What a great magazine!  I admit that when I first heard, last year, that there was going to be a new Quilt magazine coming out, I was less than enthused. I am so tired of pattern magazines!
The April 2012 issue of The Quilt Life magazine

The Quilt Life is different. It is published by the good people at AQS; Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson are the executive directors; Jan Magee is the editor-in-chief.  They have put together a magazine that is artful, well designed and includes a plethora of topics. When my issue came in the mail today I sat down and decided to read it cover to cover.  The articles include a very wide range of subjects by authors that you will recognize and some you will not.  Each is tied in to the subject of quilting in some manner.  Each author was so inspired by some story, experience or subject, that it became a part of their work.  No matter what level of quilter you may be:  beginner or experienced; you will find the magazine colorful and fascinating. I would also like to mention that the subjects are equally divided between traditional and artful quilts. Whatever type of quilts you prefer, you will find something of interest.

The article I wrote is on pages 50-53; it is titled Yesterday and Beyond.  I have to say, that I am pleased with how the editor, Jan, took my mishmash of photos and made a beautiful article out of everything.  Look closely at the first page, and you will find a ginkgo tree from Winona Lake. Suzanne Marshall is featured and one of her hand appliqued pieces is printed on the centerfold.  Yes, quilters can have centerfolds too. On the very last page, p. 86, there is a lovely soft landscape designed by Sarah Ann Smith. This quilt took my breath away.  Go find a copy and check this out!

Take a moment to celebrate this day, March 18:  National Quilting Day.  Go start a new quilt!

Ann Fahl

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Quilts in Color, part 5

Rhonda Rodero is featured today. She has no website, but in the Racine Area, quilter's are aware of her wonderful talents.  She is my neighbor:  meet Rhonda.
The Anderson Art Center
January 29-March 25, 2012
6501 Third Ave.
Kenosha, WI  53143
hours 1-4:00 Tuesday through Sunday

Wisterias Bloom, quilt by Rhonda Rodero

Haiku  by Marisa Rodero
Wisterias bloom--
Laced with a golden breeze stay
Untouched in glory

Rhonda Rodero comes from a family rich with artistic talent; poets, painters and dancers to name a few. She also has had the advantage of a colorful cultural heritage. She grew up in Arizona and studied in El Salvador, Madrid, Arizona State University, and the University of Southern Florida. Her background provides her with a wide range of subjects from which to draw and a sunny palatte of colors to combine in her quilts. Rhonda found her passion when her husband gave her a sewing machine for their first wedding anniversary.  (He thought she could do the mending!)
Detail, Wisterias Bloom by Rhonda Rodero
Quilting became a serious occupation by the time her two daughters were almost grown. She currently lives in Mount Pleasant, Racine County which is rich with quilters at all levels.  

 Photography and drawing are two of her hobbies which serve her well when it comes to designing her quilts.  She chooses subjects from nature; landscapes, birds and plant life. She uses rich fabrics and covers them with lifelike embroidery and quilts them with close attention to detail to create a sculptured look to her subjects. 
¡Pura Vida!, quilt by Rhonda Rodero

Zenith of Color, quilt by Rhonda Rodero
Combined with her artistic eye, her attention to detail has brought her success in shows and competitions. She has been awarded many prestigious prizes in area and national exhibits.

Night Blooming CereusJasper? Cleo? Is That You?,  and Profusion of Color, quilts by Rhonda Rodero
Quilt detail Profusion of Color

As you can see her ability to draw is very important in her work.  Her sense of color is amazing.
Flight of Fancy, quilt by Rhonda Rodero,  her most recent piece
Even though I don't have a detail photo of this quilt, you can see more of  the attention to detail that I've been telling you about.  Rhonda's heavy quilting makes this quilt come to life with texture. 

Many years ago, Rhonda asked me to come into her house to look at a quilt that she was working on.  I didn't know her well at the time.  She had some questions about some sewing or piecing, I don't remember the exact nature of the difficulty she was experiencing.  I said, "Pull out your thread, and let's see what you might use."  She opened a drawer, pulled out a small box with about five spools of thread in it.  So I said, "Where's the rest of your thread?"  Well those 5 spools were all she had collected!  As you can see, Rhonda's collection of both thread and fabric now includes a broad palette of colors.

Thank you Rhonda for your wonderful work.

Ann Fahl

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Put this on your calendar! March 16-18

Big news from! In honor of International Quilt Day March 17, 2012, The Quilt Show, on web TV hosted by Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims, will "open" all of its shows from the first nine series--that is, from shows numbered 100 through show 913--for the entire weekend of March 16 –18. This means that—for three special days—everyone will have the chance to view these 117 shows, featuring some of the quilting world’s leading artists, at no charge.
After the filming of episode #111,  Alex Andersen, Ann Fahl, Ricky Tims
As you may already know, I appeared as the featured artist on TQS on show 111. If you didn't have the opportunity to see this show first time around, now you'll have the chance to see it—and so many other terrific shows. Filming this segment was one of the most exciting days of my career. Being on stage with Alex, Ricky and an audience was quite a rush. Most of my cat quilts were there! The filming was before A Black and White Tale became a book!

Waiting for Breakfast, a quilt by Ann Fahl

Please share this information with all of your quilting friends. It's a fantastic opportunity to enjoy three days of learning and fun without leaving your home…all for free. And...... Support your fellow quilters!

Ann Fahl, and the staff of

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Quilts in Color, part 4

This blog features Barbara J. Schneider from Northern IL.

January 29-March 25, 2012
6501 Third Ave.
Kenosha, WI  53143
hours 1-4:00 Tuesday through Sunday
All the artists have gotten a "fireplace" shot.  This one features 2 of Barbara Schneider's pieces from her "Reflections series.

Barbara J. Schneider  says  “I began quilting in 1996 and rediscovered the pleasure of working with cloth, paint, dye, and thread. My background is in visual design and I worked for many years as a designer in the publishing industry. I take lots of photos of found objects, nature, shadows and tactile details. These as well as my underlying interest in the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi have had a strong influence on the direction of my work.  I have an extensive background in surface design and teach as well as exhibit my work nationally and internationally. My artwork is in both private and public collections.”
Her Reflections series explores the concept of reflection and how to capture the essence of images that are not physically there, images made of light and movement, images that change. Her depiction of water is what draws me to her work.  She also uses other images, but in this exhibit she featured her water pieces. 
Quilt by Barbara J. Schneider,  from the Reflections Var. 1

Her work is an exploration and interpretation of natural images by enlarging and reshaping them. She collects leaves, pods, flowers, grasses and look closely at their structure and shape. In particular, Barbara likes to collect these natural objects at the end of summer when they have begun to wither and fragment. Looking at them closely and then enlarging them allows her to see them as sculptural objects. She captures the play of light upon surfaces, and shaping the pieces introduces a new element – light and shadow interacting with the undulating surfaces. 
A corner of Barbara J. Schneider's gallery, quilts from the Reflections series
Quilt by Barbara J. Schneider, Reflections Var 11
Even removing the color and designing in black and white her work is fascinating.  This quilt is very wide, but not tall, and completely filled a wall in her upstairs gallery with a Lake Michigan view. 

One other thing, Barbara included some of her 3 yard pieces, which she has printed and manipulated in many ways.  In the gift shop at the Anderson, there are several beautiful wall pieces for sale.

Barbara is from Northern Illinois. She teaches, lectures and exhibits her work extensively.

Come and visit the Anderson before this exhibit changes. 

My next artist featured will be someone without a web presence:  Rhonda Rodero.  Her work is wonderful.

Ann Fahl

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Quilts in Color: part 3

This is part 3 about the exhibit Quilts in Color at the:

January 29-March 25, 2012
6501 Third Ave.
Kenosha, WI  53143
hours 1-4:00 Tuesday through Sunday
The featured artist today is Melody Johnson, who has been a quilt artist since 1981. She was also a professional fabric dyer for twelve years . Melody's education includes a BA in painting and drawing from Northeastern Illinois University in1981 and an MA in Fibers from Northern Illinois University in1994.
Melody's philosophy of quilt making is "all color all the time."  According to her, you can never have enough color! The two of us have had many interesting discussions of color, embroidery and fabric. Her quilts emanate with her joy of color.
Here are Melody's quilts hung above another of the Italian marble fireplaces. The quilts are from her Bon Bon series.
All of Melody's constructions are fused pieces, they appear to be pieced, but they are not.  Her quilting makes them appear to be pieced or appliqued. 
Zig-zag # 5,  quilt by Melody Johnson
 Don't you just love the jagged lines in the "rick rack" segments.  They add such strong directional interest in the quilt.  The edge also has "prairie points" to carry out the zigzag theme; I love the fact that they are irregular.  Melody created the perfect edge for this quilt.  Look closely, this is just a 9 patch block.  Isn't it wonderful and joyous?
Matchstick Moon and Matchstick Moons 2, quilts by Melody Johnson
 To create the surface patterns, Melody has used many fine thin strips to create the circular images and the grass-like textures.
Technique Rebellion III-Redux,  quilt by Melody Johnson
Technique Rebellion, above is without a doubt the most impressive quilt in her gallery.  The color and threadwork take your breath away! I am sorry there isn't a detail shot of this quilt.  It is so rich with thread, it is almost like velvet.
Parallel Paths,  quilt by Melody Johnson
This quilt is reminiscent of some of her mosaic pieces.  This was of course is rich with color and texture.  Her use of her own hand dyed fabrics makes all of her quilts sing.

If you would like to see more of Melody's work, you must visit her website. It is in glorious color and you will love seeing all of her work together.

Melody works in her home studio in Tennessee. "For me it's a balance of making the work and helping others find their artistic gifts. I loved the teaching experience, the encouragement, and mind opening exchange between the student and myself.   Teaching was an extension of my art. I am so happy now to have the time and space to enjoy my husband's retirement, to create new work, and to share my daily adventures via my blog. "
Thanks Melody for adding so much color to our day.

Ann Fahl

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Quilts in Color: part 2

This is the second segment in a series about the quilt exhibit at the Anderson Arts Center in Kenosha WI.

January 29-March 25, 2012
6501 Third Ave.
Kenosha, WI  53143
hours 1-4:00 Tuesday through Sunday
Marcia Stein's work is my subject today.  Marcia is a San Francisco textile artist whose award-winning work has been shown in a number of juried exhibitions at galleries, museums, and quilt shows throughout the country and is included in several public and private collections.  
I have always found large blocks of color in quilts to be most appealing to me.  They make bold statements that make you step back and study and enjoy the work.  As you will see Marcia likes color too. She is the author of a book from C and T called Picture This!  The image on the cover is included in the show.

Quilt by Marcia Stein,  Sidewalk Cafe
The quilt is stunning.  The black and white stripes are of course very graphic, and are machine pieced.  Also umbrellas are always dramatic, even though Marcia's are not opened up.

She says, “While I still enjoy using the geometric shapes of traditional quilt making and the more free-form techniques of contemporary quilt art, my current work focuses on storytelling through appliqué, and for this I call upon my interest in photography.”

“I enjoy seeking out photographic subjects with an eye toward their successful translation into fabric. I like to portray a scene in a representational way yet with a whimsical quality that makes the work smile back at me as I recall the moment I caught the image on film."

Quilt by Marcia Stein,  '52 Pickup

Both of my son's liked this quilt, they used to have a 1995 Dodge pickup. The angle that she used to picture the truck is most interesting. Marcia used a wide variety of fabrics in this one, including some metallic ones. I am sure she had fun creating this quilt.
Quilt by Marcia Stein, French Laundry 
Of all of Marcia's quilts in the exhibit, this one was my favorite.  Laundry isn't my favorite thing to do, but I remember my mother hanging the wash outdoors in the summer when we lived in New Jersey.  My sisters and I would have fun running in and out and around all the sheets and towels.  This setting was inspired by a photo that Marcia took.  You can find it on her website.  The background is just two colors of beige fabric and this creates such a textured and shadowed wall. The laundry hanging on the railing is just wonderful.  The clothing and the shutters behind are hand appliqued. What great detail.
Look at the stitching on the pockets of this pair of pants.

Here is a detail of one of the shutters.
Marcia states, "My current series is based on photographs I took in Santa Fe, Italy, England, and the South of France.”
Ladies in Waiting  and   Gone for a Walk  quilts by Marcia Stein
Gone for a Dip  and   French Laundry  quilts by Marcia Stein
Originally from Chicago, Marcia is a graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She took up quilting in 1992, after a lifelong interest in other needle arts, and has been pursuing her interest in textile art full-time since 1996.
French Shoes by Marcia Stein
 What little girl wouldn't want a pair of shoes like this?  Thank you Marcia for creating such interesting art.

Ann Fahl