The Franken-Quilt

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I’ll tell you a little secret about my quilt that’s going to be in the upcoming Quilt National — I call it a Franken-quilt (as in Frankenstein).

I was trimming it to prepare for the binding (at about four in the morning — a ghastly time to do such a critical task) and I trimmed too much. When I pinned the binding on, I found it would hit the edge of the flower shop at a bad place – yikes!

So I dug the edge out the trash, zig-zagged it back on, and re-trimmed slightly wider. Enough that I could move the binding over a bit and the zig-zagging doesn’t show. So no one knows about the mistake except me, and now you.

Quilt National groups A, B, and C

Dale Anne asked about the coding of the artists listed on the Quilt National 2009 website. The whole show will be on exhibit at the Dairy Barn from May 23 – September 7, 2009. After that, it will travel to The Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles, Missouri — the only other venue that will exhibit the entire show.

After that, the quilts are sorted into three groups called A, B and C.  This way smaller segments of the show can travel to museums and other venues that can’t accomodate the whole show, which is quite large when taken together.

The entire collection will be on exhibit at The Foundry Art Centre from September 25 – October 29, 2009, and I’ve been asked to do an artist’s luncheon talk and then walk the audience through the exhibition on Thursday, October 8.

So if you can’t make to the Dairy Barn in Ohio, come visit the show at the Foundry in Missouri! After that, I think the schedule for the smaller group exhibits is still being planned.

Quilt National 09 alerts

When I received the new Quilt National postcard, it reminded me the opening is soon — next weekend. And hey, I just checked and there’s a new QN website to explore — here’s a list of all the QN09 artists. I can’t remember if I mentioned one of my quilts was accepted, but I’m on the list!

It’s not a PaMdora quilt, because I sort of wanted to see what would happen if I submitted something other than PaMdora — would it be accepted? So I started the new “Wish You Were Hair” series. Another lady did get accepted into the 2009 show. She doesn’t have a name, but she does have an attitude.

PaMdora will be at the QN banquet though, wearing her old “Moth-eaten Sweater.” I did that little quilt for the Art Gallery in a Box IV which will be auctioned at the banquet to raise money for Studio Art Quilt Associates. Here’s the postcard for that:

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Taking a peek at the names of the other artists who were accepted and the many other people I know will be at the SAQA conference, I wish I could be there too! The last two were a lot of fun. Here’s my blog posts from the 2007 opening and party next day outside The Dairy Barn.

Installation of my show at William Woods University

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Here I am with my installation pants on — one side pocket holds my spy camera and the other my phone. Although I was dressed for it, I didn’t really do much of the work because I had so much help! And the good photos were taken by Russ. (Photo by Russ RuBert of course.)

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The last few days have seemed like, a fast-moving blur! I didn’t have a lot of notice for this show because of a schedule mix-up last November. But seeing as it was my alma mater, I was excited to hustle up what work I could (end count – 30 quilts, 7 drawings.) Actually, I was an English communications major at this school, but my art classes and art profs made a much more lasting impression on my life.

This art center and beautiful gallery didn’t exist when I was a student — our old art building burned down (I had nothing to do with that!) So I wasn’t really sure what that the new gallery looked like in real life. When we first walked in, the bottom dropped out of my stomach. The gallery looked huge, and I thought, there’s no way I was going to be able to fill the space. But soon it became apparent, that actually we needed more walls. Well…..like magic, walls appeared.

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Although the show still has to be lit properly before it opens tomorrow, I wanted to show you these cool sliding panels that come out of a closet and move on tracks built in the ceiling. Once you arrange the sections or walls that you like, you anchor them to the floor, and just hammer nails though the neutral-colored carpet covering the walls. Easy to hang stuff! The hard part is deciding where to hang it.

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But here’s the one who deserves the real credit — my own Superman! He’s the guy who is always working quietly behind the scenes – organizing space and structure, amazing with tools, and making everything I do work and look better! It sure is nice being married to a sculptor.

We also had a wonderful helpful crew from the gallery. Vikky, the director brought in her whole family and Amanda, the student assistant was a better worker than me. Okay, now it’s time to go home and crash.

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(for some more photos and explanation of how we setup the exhibition, go to my Facebook album here.)

You can see this show February 2-27, 2009
New Time: Artist talk and reception, Thursday, February 26, 2-4 p.m.

Mildred M. Cox Gallery
William Woods University
One University Avenue
Fulton, MO

9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday – Friday
1-4 p.m. Saturday – Sunday.
Admission is free and open to the public.
For more information
call (573) 592-4245

The Banana Pose is in American Style!

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Hey, there’s my quilt on page 58 of the January-February issue of American Style magazine. Yay, AmStyle did a big big section on “studio quilts” and artists, and Martha Sielman executive director of SAQA mentioned my work in her interview. Thanks Martha!

Yoga 101 - The Banana Split Pose
Yoga 101 - The Banana Split Pose by Pam RuBert - 45" x 53"

This quilt is called “Yoga 101: The Banana Split Pose,” one of my series of quilts featuring yoga poses inspired by food puns.

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In the same article there’s also a great photo that Russ took of me working at my sewing machine a few pages later. The section features lots of great fiber artists (that’s Linda Gass’s gorgeous quilt beside mine) including Caryl Bryer Fallert, Susan Shie, John Lefelhocz, Gwendoyn Magee, and Katie Pasquine Masopust.

Oh no, another moth-eaten sweater

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Code name for this project is “Moth Eaten”, sounds like it would be a good spooky movie, eh?

But actually the full name is “Oh No, Another Moth Eaten Sweater” and it’s only 12“ x 12”. I made it for Art Gallery in a Box that will be auctioned at the next Quilt National banquet to raise money for Studio Art Quilt Associates.

There are eleven other artists whose work will be in the box: Bob Adams, Velda Newman, Patty Hawkins, Pat Kroth, Ann Johnston, Kim Ritter, Margaret Cusack, Carol Taylor, Chiaki Dosho, Enge Mardal and Steen Hougs, and Carol Bryer Fallert. (Thanks for the list Kim!)

I don’t often do small pieces like this, but prefer to work work large enough to create a kind of presence, or even better to put a lot of big pieces together in a room to really have wall-to-wall presence.

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(The moth holes are actually holes, so I went at it with scissors and other sharp objects. It’s hard to make something, and then intentionally put holes in it.)

Working small is different, I’m not trying to miniaturize — although I’ve seen art that is very small and complex, like looking through a tiny peekhole into another world, kind of a Horton hears a Who relationship that can really draw you into another dimension, absorb you, and that can be delightful.

When I do work small, I try to edit out all the busyness that tends to creep into my work and leave a distillation of one small thought — kind of like a little haiku moment.

This was the moment last year when I pulled a sweater (a bit too big, but still loved it) out of the closet and realized there had been some criminal moth activity (actually the moths were just being moths — I was the one who thought it was criminal.) Here’s another drawing about those moths’ appetite for sweaters.

Update: Here’s a photo on the SAQA website of the Art in a Gallery box and collection of quilts.

Call for entries: A Sense of Humor

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I’ve been asked to be juror for a exhibition called Sense of Humor, sponsored by SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) that will be shown in a gallery space at the International Quilt Festival in Houston next October and will published in one of SAQA’s handsome catalogs. The postmark deadline is January 30, 2009.

You may submit up to 3 entries measuring H=26″-60″ and W=26″-30″, completed since Jan. 2007, and fitting the SAQA definition of an art quilt: a contemporary artwork exploring and expressing aesthetic concerns common to the whole range of visual arts: painting, printmaking, photography, graphic design, assemblage and sculpture, which retains, through materials or technique, a clear relationship to the folk art quilt from which it descends.

You must also be a member of SAQA, an organization to devoted to promoting art quilts, but there are many benefits to membership beyond just a few exhibits. They have conferences, publish portfolios, have an on-line wiki university, and probably more stuff I’m forgetting to take advantage of. You can get the prospectus off the membership “call for entries” page.

I’m not sure why the size restrictions for the show, now that I think of it, I don’t even have anything that fits this size. Of course I didn’t for the New Focus exhibit curated by Kim Ritter and Judy Dales that is going up in the Coos Art Museum in Oregon later this month — so I made something. You can see “Surprise!” at the top of this post, just shipped it off late last night. So glad the main Fed Ex office is only two blocks from my studio.

It’s all about energy

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Lately it seems that the word-making part of my brain has gone on early holiday. Or maybe it’s honing so many short tweets has hampered my ability to string together a paragraph. Oh well, less words, more room for photos? Not really true on the web, but here’s the photos:

View of my studio as I was working on the Wish You Were Hair series of quilts. These are quilt tops pinned to design boards just before quilting. Wish I could retake this with my new auto-timer photography trick and run into the photo, but the moment has passed.

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For backings, I use batiks that seem to carry the same colors and theme as the front — for one reason because as I roll up the quilts to sew on them for hours and hours, I can enjoy the fabric. I try to keep good psychic energy going throughout the making process, and continuity of color is one of the ways. If I get in a bad mood or have trouble while working, I try to leave for a while or change the music, or change my thinking. I want nothing but good energy to go into my work. Stitch patterns are like handwriting – you can sense the emotion driving the writer.

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Since I haven’t gotten these on the website yet, you may not have seen the finished quilt – “St. Louis – Wish You Were Hair.” Kind of my nostalgic look at being a kid in St. Louis and remembering trips to the Gateway Arch by the river, and eating at the only floating McDonald’s on a river boat (now gone.)

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Speaking of energy, here’s an alternative — riverboat driven by flower power. Notice the swoopy loops of stitching in the background. Today I’m going to focus on getting some more photos of background patterns, so it may be another day of evaporated words.

“Quilts – Art with a Q” at the Fries Museum

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Quilting the ice is what I was most worried about. I finally decided that I that I wanted a swirly, skatey pattern, and was thinking about how ice skates leave those white scratches in the ice that get covered over and over.

What was that term that Jason Pollen used for layers and layers of drawing marks made on top of each other, like on an old chalkboard menu where yesterday’s image is ghosted behind? Can’t remember, oh well.

The skating marks slowly transform from swirly to crackly at the bottom, where PaMdora’s skate blade precariously balances. Not sure how successful that was, but it was an interesting experiment.

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Here’s the finished quilt, Skating On Thin Ice — it’s 42″ x 61″. Today I have to ship it off to The Netherlands along with another winter-themed quilt for a November-March exhibition at the Fries Museum. For a couple of weeks now, I’ve been stressing about how to do the shipping, but this morning got it worked out with the museum register. She was very nice, and told me that some of the hundreds of quilts — both traditional and contemporary — were already arriving at the museum.

Little swatches

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Usually I think that once the quilt top has been designed and cut out and pieced together, it’s all downhill. Not in a bad way, but a sort of you-did-the-work-and-climbed-the-hill-and-now-you’re-on-top-and-ready-to-sail-down-on-your-sled/bike/snowboard-squealing-weeee kind of downhill. Mostly it’s like that, mostly it’s easy, fun and satisfying. But there are usually a few places that require some tough choices, a bit of nail-biting, and a lot of faith.

For those, I make test swatches to try out new ideas or stitch designs and threads to see how they interact with the patterns and colors of the fabric. But then when it comes to the real deal, it’s still a performance that requires practice, attitude, and spontaneity.

How to be in two places at once

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The editor at the last book I submitted photos to complained that my photos were not good enough, so I’ve been working on my photography. Something cool I learned this week was how to use the auto-timer on the camera. So I can set up the camera on the tripod, then run around to get in the picture. This photo probably give you a better sense of what it’s like to work on one of these quilts, since you can gauge the scale.

A couple days ago I finalized the design on the wall and started to fuse everything down. The fusing is only temporary, things almost immediately start to curl up and fall off. But it’s good enough that I can get in under the sewing machine and stitch everything together for good. Did I whine it took a lot of time to cut snowflakes. Now I’m sewing them, which could be worse!

Thanks to Virginia, Gerrie, Jeanne, and others for reminding me about Blog Action Day/Poverty. I missed it here, but their posts reminded me to get off my duff and donate to The Kitchen, a great local organization here that provides food, job-training and medical care to people in need.

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