Posts tagged what's for dinner

2014 Houston Day 2


Last week was International Quilt Festival — one of my favorite events ever. I wrote in my last post about the Winner’s Circle — but I wanted to share some pictures from the next day when we had the Luncheon and Preview Night.

Sadly, the day after Winner’s Circle, the floor with the quilts and the vendors is closed until Preview Night starts at 5pm — but the 2nd floor has these cool portholes that overlook the vendor floor. I wish my arms had been longer so you could see the full porthole. At this point, I’m just in time for the Luncheon.

me at IQF

I didn’t take any pictures at the luncheon. When I arrived, I was the last of the winners to go in — and everyone else was let in soon after — so I was caught in the mad rush to find a seat at a table. The winners have their own tables, but it became clear that the signs on the tables weren’t going to keep anyone else from sitting there. The first table I went to, there were four empty seats and I asked one of the women if a particular seat was taken. At first she said no, and then started screaming at me that she was saving seats and I could take the far one over by the strange man (a spouse, obviously, who had zero interest in being there or being social). I was so surprised. Quilters are always the friendliest people and this is the only time I’ve been confronted by such a rude person at IQF, so I told her that that was fine — I would find somewhere else to sit. There is nothing worse than being with people that don’t appreciate you.

I found another table with an open seat — but just barely. I was luckily seated next to Patty Kennedy-Zafred, and next to her was Sheila Frampton-Cooper. I had a wonderful time talking with them. Patty gave me some ideas about using Lesley Riley’s TAP transfer paper that I’m considering using in one of my abstract pieces. I tried to buy some later in the day, but the only vendor that had it was Artisan Artifacts — and they only had the very large pack. Since TAP has a shelf life, I think I’ll need to start small.

This was my name tag that I received in my packet the night before. I added the show pin to the top for flair, and this is what I used late in the afternoon to get into Preview Night when the show floor finally opens.


This piece was heavily thread painted and won first place in my category, People & Portraits. The artist, Lea McComas, also won the Master Award for Thread Artistry for her piece Bike Boys.


Panning for Gold by Lea McComas

When I got in line for Winner’s Circle, Masanobu Miyama came and stood with me. I had met him last year when he won the Master Award for Thread Artistry in 2013. This year, his entry Chasing Bubbles was made with his wife and won 2nd place in my category, People & Portraits. Masanobu was so sweet and wanted his wife to receive all of the praise.


Chasing Bubbles by Hiroko Miyama & Masanobu Miyama

This fish piece by Elizabeth Dillinger was stunning. I’m not sure the picture gives grace to the intensity of the quilting. It was all freeform spirals and swirls.


Fintastic by Elizabeth Dillinger

This piece by Sandi Snow won 1st place in Art-Abstract Small. From the color to the shapes to the quilting, it is a striking piece.


Dotting Inside the Box by Sandi Snow

I know my pic doesn’t do this one justice. It was constructed with 3,300 1 1/8th” circles in 8 values of fabric. It has a luminosity that I found impressive.


Fireball by Candace Phelan

Another abstract, this one by Sandy Clark. I loved the quilting on it.


Cosmos by Sandy Clark

I am not normally drawn to traditional quilts, but this one by Colleen Wise was so visually captivating. I found myself staring at it for a while.


Hudson Trader by Colleen Wise

I loved this piece for many reasons. Not only am I partial to animals, but the reflection, all created in threadwork — and the immensity of the dense background quilting was nothing short of glorious. I did wonder why the artist chose to go by only Ferret — no first name. I remember a fiber artist several years ago that made monochromatic nudes with that last name and wondered if it was her. (I found her website — it is her.)


Seneca by Ferret

I was so excited to come across this silk piece by Christine Alexiou. I had met her last year when she won one of the Mastery awards. I hope you can see the quilted dragonfly in the bottom portion.


Bijou by Christine Alexiou

As I said, I’m partial to dogs, and I loved this one by Carol Cote.


Droopy Dawg by Carol Cote

This was a huge piece by Helena Scheffer and Marion Perrault. It was too hard to get a straight on picture of it with the crowds, but I loved it.


Royal Thistle by Helena Scheffer & Marion Perrault

This was a small piece that captured me — I couldn’t figure out how she made the reflection work so perfectly.


Moody Beach, Maine, 1957 by Margot McDonnell

This piece was made by Patty Kennedy-Zafred who I sat with at lunch. This is all screen printed and hand dyed fabric. She walked me through the process of making it, which was just fascinating. I love when an artist is willing to talk about her process, and I greatly enjoyed getting to know her.


Shared Destiny by Patricia Kennedy-Zafred

I knew when I saw this that it was Marilyn Wall’s piece since I had seen her post pics of it in progress.


The Water Boy by Marilyn Wall

This piece by Shannon Conley just made me smile. I loved the colorized pups and the extension of the faces into the quilting on the right hand side on the black.


The Dogs by Shannon Conley

Nancy Sterett Martin‘s work is always stunning.


Serenity by Nancy Sterett Martin

This is another piece that I had to study for a while (by Andrea Brokenshire). It is so realistic and the quilting only added to the life of the piece.


Dazzling Dahlia by Andrea Brokenshire

I loved this snow leopard by Jan Reed.


Out in the Open by Jan Reed

This is a piece that had to be experienced in person. A camera is just not equipped to handle what this woman was able to achieve. It is covered in tiny crystals and metallic thread, so when the light hits the front, it sparkles with a life of its own. It won 1st place in Art-Naturescapes.


Fuji and Sakura by Masako Sakagami

I was charmed by this quilt by Sandra Leichner. Though rooted in the tradition of a wholecloth quilt, this one was covered in surprising details. From the quilted flowers to the golden dragonflies, it was truly special. I was surprised that this was Sandra’s piece as it doesn’t look like her usual work, but over the years, I appreciate the fact that we all (should) reinvent ourselves and work in new directions.


Vivaldi by Moonlight by Sandra Leichner

Masanobu & Kiroko Miyama also made this charming small piece Drifting Bubbles for the IQF Silent Auction. I knew when I saw it that it would be one of the most fought for pieces of the night.


Drifting Bubbles by Hiroko & Masanobu Miyama

Who couldn’t love this face? Having done a bull dog myself, I couldn’t help but appreciate what went into this one (by Cindy Garcia).


You Dirty Dog!!! by Cindy Garcia

At the back of the hall was the What’s for Dinner? exhibit. I had seen it last year and decided to enter this year. All of the pieces are placed flat on a long table — as if each one is a place setting.

This is my piece Dolce Far Niente (The Sweetness of Nothing).


And this was Karen Ponischil’s — I also met her last year.


Mater Sandwich by Karen Ponischil

I loved this one with the lobster by Jeanelle McCall.


Lobster Night by Jeanelle McCall

Towards the end of the night, I drifted back to my piece since I had forgotten to take a pic of it with it on the wall with the surrounding work.


I ran into Patty and she took this one of me with my piece. (I know — I was tired at this point.)


I was wearing sensible shoes. I had debated wearing something cuter, but I was told that at Festival, fashion stops at the knees. I’m glad that I heeded that advice. I was able to go the full five hours and then was still okay waiting in line for the bus back to my hotel.

I sprinted through all of the quilt exhibits. Then I ate and spent some time walking through the vendors. I had a plan of a limited number of booths I wanted to see. I spent too much time talking though and didn’t get to everything. There were only a couple of places I was tempted to spend money though. I am blessed to live in Atlanta, and most of what was available I can find locally. I was fascinated with Artistic Artifacts, though — and am now regretful that I didn’t buy some of the hand carved wooden stamps from India (another day — and they have a website!) And Superior Threads — I love their thread. I only bought a thread stand though. I have an old one that constantly falls over, and Superior has a new one that they’ve designed — I can’t wait to try it out.

I actually ran into a couple of people I know — Diane Schultheiss, who I know from the Fiber Art Fusion group in Atlanta (she was hanging out next to the Artistic Artifacts booth) — and Victoria Rondeau, one of the current reps for SAQA-GA (although she just moved & is stepping down at the end of the year). I had so much fun talking, the clock ran out and it was soon time to go.

This was the point at which I regretted not staying at the Hilton. I knew that they would close the hall at 10pm so I left about 20 minutes so I wouldn’t be in the crush to get on a bus. Even then, I had to wait and the bus went to the Hilton last — so the process was about 45 minutes.

I had such a great time in Houston. I had a mountain of work to do when I got back home, but it was worth it to take the mental break. Ideally, another day would be best — an entire day to cover the exhibits and vendors.

Dolce Far Niente

Making a Plate


After realizing that the “It’s Raining Cats & Dogs” special exhibit at IQF/Houston had added a new virgin rule this year — thereby disqualifying my piece Golden Moment since I had posted LOTS of pics of it on my website and blog — I decided to make a small piece for another one of IQF’s special exhibits. At first I thought about Life Begins At 40 — since I am currently in my 40’s — but what struck my interest more was What’s For Dinner.

I’m friends with Jamie Fingal, one of the curators, on Facebook, and every night she posts the question “what’s for dinner?” I get to hear about what delicious meal she is preparing and it usually makes me hungry.

Keep in mind that at this decision making point, I was at the beginning of May. I don’t typically spend many hours in the studio during the summer, and May itself is full of constant interruptions — so I was looking for a small piece to do. This needed to be an exact size — 24″ x 15″. Perfect.

Then I started thinking about what to put on the plate — and I started to get hung up on plate design. Let’s face it — there are people that go to culinary school to learn how to properly plate food. (I know — I’ve watched way too many hours of Food Network.) So I was stuck for a while — until I decided I was making this too difficult. I went to my cabinet, pulled out a plate, knife, fork, spoon, and a crystal glass. Then I pulled some simple things from my kitchen — a croissant, a couple of different kinds of miniature cheeses, a boiled egg, and some fruit.

Simple yet elegant. It reminded me of the plate that Julia Roberts makes in the movie Eat, Pray, Love when she is learning about “dolce far niente” — the sweetness of nothing.

I started with my cream Wedgwood Edme plate. There are shadows all ready added for the different items on the plate.

Plate Empty

I put the egg in the middle. Probably not my best choice — a white egg in the middle of a cream plate. And I really struggled with how to make it stand out on that plate. I tried many combinations of white and gray. This is what I ended up with (with one change later).

Plate with Egg

And then I added the fruit. The blackberries are from one fabric — a dark blue batik. It looks really dark in the pic but that’s the limitation range of a camera. If I want the plate to be sharp, then the darkest dark will be a little blurry. Then I added the grapes — and then the orange. I actually had a print of grapes — perfect size too. I thought about using it — but I wanted an artistic representation — not perfection.

You’ll also noticed that I added a rim of gray around the egg. I think it gives the egg more depth than it had. (The bias of white is a little choppy but it’ll clean up when it’s appliquéd.)

Plate with Fruit

And then I added the croissant in the corner. I was dubious about the fabrics but I think they turned out well. It looks even better quilted.

Plate with Croissant

My last food items were miniature cheeses. When I originally photographed them, they were covered in their commercial labels. Those had to go. I redrew them plainer for my plate.

Plate with Cheese

And here you can see the napkin and the silverware. I could tell from last year’s entries that people struggled with the silverware. Using non-metallic grays and black, I took a literal interpretation of the values in the silver. (I did use a metallic thread for quilting them though.)

I chose the background before the napkin. I loved this print and how it worked with the plate. I barely had enough — although I’ll admit at this point that I had it in my mind that the piece had to be 24″ x 18″ — and I wasn’t sure if I would end up with 18″ after quilting. I used it anyway, figuring I could add across the bottom if I had to — and it was just as well since the actual height requirement is 15″.

Plate with Silver

The glass was also something that I think presented a high level of difficulty. I had a nylon sparkly sheer in my stash that I thought might work. I started by experimenting with it and Wonder Under. I wasn’t sure if the heat from the iron needed to bond the Wonder Under would melt the fabric — so I kept the iron low and raised the heat as needed to make it bond. I worked in reverse order. I usually work light to dark — but since I could add depth by layering the fabric on top of itself, I put the pieces that I wanted to be darkest on my pressing sheet first.

Glass stage 1

Then I laid my largest piece of sheer on top. Not only are the raw edges of the first layer all covered (and there are a LOT of raw edges down there), but the layer on top gives the layer underneath more opacity.

I know — it’s a little hard to see on the white pressing sheet.

Glass stage 2

This is the glass on the background fabric. Not as sheer as I would have liked — but good enough. (It really looks fabulous wet — you can really see the background coming through then.)

Glass on background

And here is the full appliqué top before quilting.

Dinner Before Quilting

At some point after quilting, I realized that I only needed 15″ in height — which was just as well since my background fabric had shrunk closer to 17″ — but it’s sad because it meant that I would have to cut off the top of my glass. Oh well. No use spending too much time worrying about that. The glass is to scale and shrinking it to make it fit on the 15″ height would have made it look too small for the place setting.

Dolce Far Niente

Dolce Far Niente

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