Weekend Inspo- Rosie Lee Tompkins Quilt Exhibit, BAMPFA Berkeley California.
A post on a Monday afternoon from me?? Hasn't been done but I couldn't wait until Friday to send this to my peeps. I am so inspired by this weekend's trip to see the most wonderful quilts (some never shown before) of the incredible Rosie Lee Tompkins: A Retrospective that I have to immediately share it. And shout out that if you can go see this in person...YOU MUST! (until July 18th). BAMPFA is the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive located on the campus of CAL (University of California, Berkeley....Golden Bear territory) and honestly speaking haven't checked it out often enough over the years. One of the silver linings of COVID for me is that when I CAN'T GO somewhere, I really miss it...it's the wanderlust DNA in me. So the first things I am doing with my free time...(starting with celebrating my assistant's 3 month wonderfulness) is rebuilding my creative MOJO by soaking up museums, music festivals and general public hang out seshes with street performances that seem to be popping up everywhere....The Alameda Flea is in three Sundays...Squeal! My soul has wings ready to fly right now! No more moss growing on me!
Rosie Lee Tompkins is the art pseudonym for Effie Mae Martin Howard, a brilliant African-American quilt maker and fiber artist of Richmond California who is a renowned artist of the 20th century. BAMPFA has a slide show about Rosie Lee that is informative and celebratory, sharing her command of color, composition and finishing one top to go to work on the next. She believed her artistry was a gift from God and her quilts reflect a deep reverence for spiritual life and beauty. Quilters such as Irene Bankhead, often finished her work to become actual quilts. Eli Leon (1935-2018) an African American quilt collector was a friend and patron who met her at a flea market in Oakland in 1985. Below are all her quilts I photographed while at the museum over the weekend with some details showing her love of velvet, mix of flea market finds, new fabrics and various ephemera used in her appliqué work. Enjoy these if you can not see in person....But if you are hankering to get out of dodge, come on by! Your cotton "I'm Quilt Crazy" socks will be blown off! Pace yourself for all 30+ images below. CELEBRATE COLOR AND QUILTS!
Until next time. Get out to museums, live music venues, lunch with friends, flea markets and visit your favorite places to soak up humanity, full of inspiration of culture and color!
The contemplation of beauty causes the soul to grow wings. -Plato
Today's Inspirational Post:
UPCYCLE: NEW: RECYCLE: USE: MIX IT UP.....Interesting combos to create something new and unique!
So you've got some odd and ends stuff around your maker space? Let's incorporate them into a simple tote bag! I will share my most basic pattern dimensions and where my "stuff" came from. Use what you have. Repetition of material works. Make do and see what happens. I don't throw anything out. Yes, I buy/design new and I keep old. I use stuff up. Why "saving the good stuff" for later? "Later" may never happen! (even my mother's wedding silverware has become everyday use)
Bag Details below after my Maker's Dance break below: Watch and suffer my moves.
Kids welcome the camaraderie. At least I am no Elaine! #SeinfeldRocks
Will is the most fun to play around with when I video a new Maker Dance. He is full of laughter, "Oh My God Mom!" and his darling girlfriend is showing me moves to mimic. I'm down with that kids! They don't want to be in my videos...yet. "You do you mom, we'll just film it.... "
1. New Sara Parker hand printed textiles. So worth it! Robert Kaufman heavyweight denim sample. Cut two rectangles 14" x 16". French seams. Boxed corners at bottom. Fold over top. No extra pockets.
2. Leather book samples from furniture friend. Perfect for straps and details. Today I used them just for straps. Cut strips at 1 1/4" by length of sample. Used brass 1 1/4" hardware to extend length of strap while adding a cool style element. (see images below for detail) Finished strap 22"
3. Very old DMC floss. I no longer use the 6 stranded floss. It's ideal for creating new texture instead of throwing or giving away. Organize based on color and then lay out what excites you! Hold in place by hand and then sew over them adjusting as you go. I like heavy weight thread and long stitch.
Below are the first ideas using DMC floss made into Valentine's Day cards for my girlfriends. Nice way to explore an idea. Background paper is the printout of my SKY Ombre designs. Sneak Peak: New colors coming down the pipeline! Stay tuned :)
NEWS FLASH: Regarding this subject of making do, If you are not on Instagram, you may have missed our launch of new non profit CREATE AND SUSTAIN TM which I have not blogged about yet...So here is the link to check it out and read our story. More to come later on that. It's super exciting and much needed!
Choosing two different fabrics similar in weight gives the "front" and "back" of the bag interest. Also note how I repeated the design element and used 17 DMC skeins total. More bold on the denim side with yellows and oranges and that important grey/black for a value change. Note as well the muted colors such as beige, tan, peach and pale green. These are just as important as the brights.
The decision to trim one side and keep the loop on the other side was also easy. It tells the story of before and after. Adds interest and reads more artistic. Same with the strap. I did three rectangle brass links on one side and two on the other. Unexpected is exciting to me. If you have a label with your name on it. Put it on the outside! Tell the world you are a creative and that you make cool sh*t. Note the carry over of small DMC detail on printed Sara Parker side. Like the repetition again. Always looking to put repeated ideas into work. Our minds like that. #creativebrain #cravespattern
That's it in a nutshell. Try something at home. Don't get hung up on the bag dimensions. Enjoy the creative embellishment and using up your stuff you have around already. Make do and have fun. Then go out and enjoy a meal with friends. Masks off! Drinks Up! Dancing all the way!!
Xx Stay Creative!
February is for LOVE and BUTTERFLIES....
Last year while I was working on the finishing touches of SPRING SHIMMER projects, I was asked by Quilty Box, a subscription quilt kit company, to design a quilt for their February 2021 box. They fell in love with my Spring Shimmer line (previous post), especially the butterfly print. Delighted, I selected 15 fabrics and had a Union Square block idea in mind with added sashing to highlight the main print in the center and use a variety of values and prints for the HST. I love how it turned out. Simple. Joyful. Bright. I call it Butterfly Box. It's perfect baby size or lap quilt. Plus I have a story to share about women's resilience, challenges overcome, sisterhood and family which is represented by the mariposa mosaic mural behind my quilt in photo. I hope you enjoy my thoughts and wanderings, local as they may be. You know how much I love butterflies- the symbol of hope, rebirth and human capacity to soar! I am pretty sure you love them too, and we all have our own reasons.
It was a quiet winter day in Northern California, I was searching for some Napa city art to take a photo of my new quilt. Known for their outdoor murals, I meandered around empty streets weaving through downtown with my car windows slightly cracked to let the cool breeze in when I caught sight of this butterfly filled mosaic wall- a perfect backdrop to Butterfly Box. I pulled over and jumped out of the car beholding this surprising and perfect find.
With no photography partner, I was challenged to take this photo so I stood for a long time admiring the magnificent glass mosaics, appreciating the creative wall. Then, lucky for me, a woman walked by, who happened to be the head of the Cope Family Center (the building on which the mosaic is mounted) and kindly offered to take my photo. When I asked about the story behind the mural, I was amazed to hear such a powerful message. Serendipity had struck. I have paraphrased the story below so you too can learn about this moving art which was born from the hearts of NIMBUS ARTS and Mariposa(Spanish for butterfly): a young Latina women's school program. (they also have a young man's program: Bridging Brothers which are both a part of the Napa Valley Office of Education.)
I also show the various inspiration and steps to making this quilt and what I think about when designing this quilt. You can order this kit from Quilty Box and make your very own version. Either subscription month to month or just the one time, February Designer Box for around $48 I believe. I also have FQ bundles in the shop of the entire collections shipping now.
About the Mosaic: Located at Cope Family Center in Napa, Nimbus Arts partnered with Mariposa, a program offered to Latina girls in high school and middle school that promotes female empowerment and encourages girls to set goals to live a life without drugs or abuse. The latina girls learned to make glass mosaic butterflies from Nimbus artists, then went to local schools and taught others how to make the butterflies, which would be used to create a kaleidoscope of positivity and inspiration as a public mural.
The three women in the mural represent a mother wearing a traditional Mexican dress, a teenager representing the Mariposa girls, and a younger girl chasing a butterfly that leads to a sea of butterflies filling the sky. The dark tiles at the bottom you see broken hearts, buried dreams and alcohol bottles all symbolizing the difficulties Mariposa girls have risen above. The butterflies represent the girls breaking free from life’s negative influences.
Spring Shimmer has so many meanings and it feels right to elevate our quilt making to have thoughts about rising up, evolving, beauty and living a colorful life. I hope you make some spring quilts this year and enjoy the process. You can find the kit from Quilty Box or go to my shop to see more Spring Shimmer precuts. I have already donated to the Mariposa program and will continue to use a percent of profits from this line to help even more. My final addition here is a song my sister Les Sampou wrote and performs Hanging by a Thread. Check it out. All of us go through difficult times and it's important we help each other out to be seen and loved. Until next time....
Keep creating, it does the head, heart and hands good.
The making of this scrappy, delightful quilt in Spring Shimmer.
Have you ever made a log cabin quilt? This classic pattern is one of the most iconic blocks in quilting and so easy to make. I give you the PDF for free below, but here are the basic essentials for those of you who have a log cabin or two under your belt: 5" fussy cut center butterfly block. 1 1/2" strips pieced 7 times around center block. Make 16 of them in sets of threes with dark/light sides established and 4 corner light blocks....Add a windowpane bias 5" border and Viola! You're done... at least in concept :). Settle in, this is a longer post but it's fun and full of good information. Keep reading as I give you tips below, some helpful videos about trimming and little stories of life & California. This quilt, I made from my new Spring Shimmer which is in my shop and shipping world wide now in fits and bursts...as with many things in our Covid-19 era world.
Butterflies- A lifelong source of inspiration, symbols of nature, beauty, hope and rebirth. I love seeing human's interpretations, like the painted wall above, of one of God's most transformative creatures. My mother gave me a book, Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus when I was a child...She gave me many books she'd find while browsing the Wellesley book store and so many of them are ingrained in my head, heart and soul. They have shaped me- most of them about compassion, love and the incredible potential of the human spirit. Thank you Mom.
Fussy cutting the center blocks was so enjoyable. I really wanted to highlight the five gorgeous shimmery butterfly fabrics and this the perfect pattern to do it. The rest of the Spring Shimmer fabrics are used for the scrappy strip piecing. I loved repeating colors to add saturated areas of reds, oranges, yellows and blue. The PDF below gives directions with links to YouTube videos if you never have made a log cabin before. Give it a try! It takes just two FQ bundles. I have kits in the shop that include the Essex Windowpane border too!
Having my two eldest both at California Universities has been a blessing. Both close proximity to San Francisco yet still far enough away....and our pocketbook likes in-state tuition. I think back to my days at university- left Boston to go to Burlington VT and then NYC. I definitely liked NYC better :) Vermont albeit gorgeous, had too many cows and cold winters for me. My first introduction to California, was actually Santa Barbara. Our college soccer team was invited to play in a women's D-1 national tournament fall of '86 and it was a serendipitous trip...Even though we lost terribly, California won my heart. Oh, and the Beach Boys was my first album as pre teen. So yes, the dreams had been brewing for quite some time.
Cutting accurate 1 1/2" strips is key to block building. If your strips are wonky, your block will be wonkier...is that even a word? Pressing seams away from center block is also a good practice. Finished block measures 18 1/2" square.
If you want to learn more about the history of Log Cabin quilts, I include a link here. Feel free to share any interesting tidbits about log cabins in comments below :) Love hearing from you.
Above are three videos that cover trimming and piecing the blocks together. I love making and even though I aim to be super accurate, I don't get my shoulders all hunched up about it when things aren't perfect. The more seams one has in the quilt, the more possibility of it not really laying flat. Which is OK. My favorite part about playing with fabric is the color, texture and design part. Not the perfect seams part...haha. I am soooo OK with that!
Feel free to download and print this pattern. Make it with my Shimmer or use it for your own stash buster! It's a great pattern to have on hand. Due to the fact it's free here, I will not be expanding on the instructions or offering more information. If you have questions, please see the many wonderful YouTube videos on how to make log cabins. Wealth of tutorials already out there so have fun! If you missed last blog post, take a look. It gives a broad overview of lookbook for Spring Shimmer and video that was sent to all the sales reps and shops worldwide. It gives you insider info. Also the Log Cabin is the first dive into details of the projects represented in the lookbook. Sign up for my newsletter/blog to stay in the know and become a part of my colorful fabric tribe!! We have fun!
Remember last week, I talked about new CREATIVE SPARK Online Learning platform? It's exciting. If you have never taken an online class or want to learn more, watch YouTube LIVE presentation done last week. Here is the link. Plus I have a LIVE online class December 5th (3+ weeks away) and there are some spots left so join the party :) Hope to see you there!
Stay healthy and wear your mask!
Stories from the Studio
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