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Been There, Done That

Author Michelle    Category Blog     Tags

As artists we are always on the quest for something new and fresh, something that hasn’t been done before, the cutting edge so to speak. Isn’t that what creativity is; pushing boundaries in our medium and seeing where it takes us? Sometimes, though, we get to a place where we feel comfortable. We and other people like what we are doing and we sort of settle in. We may even call it “our style”. It works for a while, and sometimes for a long while, until that raw creative streak  in us surfaces and we say to our selves “Been there, done that”. It isn’t “creative” enough any more. So what do we do? It’s not that easy to leave where we’ve been, and yet we can’t stay where we are. We start experimenting out of our comfort zone to see if we can find some new excitement, a new freshness in what we create. The battle always is not to do what others do, but to find our own thing, our own place; and yes, maybe that place where we pause for a while in a new comfort zone, in a new style.

I have been on such a path. I call it “reinventing myself”. It has taken me many different places where I have stopped to play awhile and then gotten back on that road to finding a place again where the creative passion says this is a good place to be. In the next few weeks, I’ll share some of my stops on that road and the thought process behind what brought me there, what artists inspired me, why I stopped there for a while, and what I learned.

I hope that it will encourage you all not to stop and not to be discouraged even with unfinished projects, but instead to realize that its all a learning process to take you to a better place, a place where your heart sings!



Old Blue

Author Michelle    Category Blog     Tags

“Old Blue” is part of Made in New Mexico:Structural Diversity, an exhibition of contemporary fiber art at the Capitol Rotunda Art Gallery, 411 State Capitol, Santa Fe, NM and presented by Studio Art Quilt Associates of New Mexico. The show will run from April 14, 2017 to August 17, 2017. The opening reception is tomorrow April 14 from 4 to 6 PM. This piece will also be part of an special exhibit traveling to the Houston Quilt Show 2017. This old Chevy truck takes on a life of its own as it weathers in the New Mexico sun.



Author Michelle    Category Blog     Tags

This 12″ by 12″ piece is for the 2017 SAQA Benefit Auction. This one was fun; just three fabrics and tulle overlay. There are many beautiful 12 by 12 pieces made by SAQA members available for purchase starting in mid September. The pages are updated as new pieces come in. You may want to take a look and pick out your favorite pieces of look for your favorite artist. Here is the link:


Pelican Rescue

Author Michelle    Category Blog     Tags

This art quilt was made from a photo of a brown pelican taken in the Galapagos Islands in November 2012 by Charlotte Green. I am honored to make it into a quilt and bring attention to wildlife bird rescue and  inspire us all to simply  “care”. Charlotte was a student in one of my classes. She had a stack of beautiful photos of birds and animals that she had taken in various places of the world. I don’t always have students start with such inspiring photos. The second class meeting she said she would like to give me one for a quilt! I can not even begin to tell you how excited I was! That was a few years ago. I finally got around to finishing this piece. I hope she likes it and that it inspires you. 


I am the Face of Rescue

Author Michelle    Category Blog     Tags

Another passion of mine is rescue and helping dogs find their forever homes. This happens to be my little 5 pound two-year old Bentley “poster puppy”who was one of my fosters. He came to me with fur so matted it was a 1/2 inch pelt over the top of his body that took me 4 hours to carefully clip away. There was also so much matting in front of and behind his little legs that he could not completely bend them. We fell in love with him and our home became his forever home. He lives to be held and even as I write this is begging to be invited into my lap.

Tens of thousands of dogs every year are found neglected as strays or surrendered to animal shelters for a various reasons all across America. Many of those because of over crowding, are doomed to being put to death. Rescues provide safe homes with loving volunteer foster families that take care of these animals giving them vet care which includes micro-chipping, vaccinations and sterilization untill they can find their forever homes.

This piece was juried into SAQA’s Textile Poster Exhibit which will premiere at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas in November 2017 and at the International Quilt Festival in Chicago, Illinois  in April 2018. Additional venues may be added.


Oh So Blue

Author Michelle    Category Blog     Tags

I had so much fun designing the words in the background of Romancing Red that I decided to do another one; this time in blue. The background is simply broken up with lines mimicking flowing hair. Value is the key to making these pieces really pop. I simplified my drawing into three values. Light, medium and dark. The light was white and one blue that is so light it almost looks white when it stands alone. The dark is at the opposite end of the scale; as dark as I can get without going black. The medium fabrics must be distinctive. They can’t be too close to white or too close to the dark, or they won’t show up. It’s as if in the scale from light to dark with 1 being the lightest and 10 being the darkest, only 1 is used for the light, 8, 9 and 10 are the darkest and maybe 4 and 5 are the medium fabrics. Values 2, 3 and 6, 7 are removed to create more drama between values. There are 44 name for blue in this one. It’s a little like Finding Waldo! Hope you enjoy!




For Libby

Author Michelle    Category Blog     Tags

I have been so late in getting this out. I was very happy to be a part of this! Please read below and see my piece inspired by Libby’s piece “Watch Your Step Beach”. Mine piece is “Watch Your step Desert”.

Inspired By Libby
Libby Lehman, a beloved woman, wife, mother, talented quilter, teacher, and artist is struggling with multiple medical issues. Her personality and sense of humor is leading the charge for recovery. Team Libby and her quilting friends are her support through this time. What’s left? Well, what do quilters do at times like this? Make quilts. An invitation was sent out last fall to award winning quilters and teachers to create a 30×30 quilt inspired by one of Libby’s quilts, to be auctioned off to aide the family with the medical bills.

This unique collection will be on display at the International Quilt Show in Houston late October, 2014. Two quilts will be up for a silent auction at the show. The collection will be up for an online auction for everyone to bid on. The auction info to be announced September on The exhibit will then go to the American Quilter’s Society Paducah Show in April, 2015. After this, they will be shipped to their new owner to be enjoyed.

The entire monies raised from the invited artists will be sent to Team Libby as soon as the auction is complete. The quilts will be personally delivered to Libby and family after the quilt show, so they can see them up close before moving on to their next destination.

How exciting!!



Romancing Red

Author Michelle    Category Blog     Tags

I love color and all the emotions that come with it. The color red has always played an important role in fashion as it demands attention and stimulates passion. Forty powerful names for various reds are used in the background to bring energy and sensuality to the subject. I loved doing the letting  so much I think I will do several pieces using words. 


Inspired by Other Artists

Author Michelle    Category Blog     Tags

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to see a beautiful painting by Margarete Bagshaw the Golden Dawn Gallery in Santa Fe, NM. “Ancestral Procession” which is 80″ by 112″ just filled the room with color. I loved the sort of segmenting and repeated patterning especially of flying geese triangles that reminded me of quilts. I am more of a realist when creating art with the exception of using unique color, but I have always been fascinated but things more abstract. I was inspired to create my own piece by stylizing elements(petals and leaves) of a geranium and segmenting the background allowing the stylized pieces to float over and change as they fell into other segments. My piece, no where compares to the excellence of Marageret’s, but it was fun to let her work inspire me to create something different. I did carry a segmented background into “Colorflies”.

Do you have a favorite artist and how can you let them inspire your own work.


Working Very Small

Author Michelle    Category Blog     Tags

“Serenity” measures 6″ by 8″ and will be matted and framed with a 4.5″ by 6.5″ opening. This piece was made for the SAQA Spotlight Auction which takes place during the SAQA conference held in Washington D.C in April 2014.

Small works definitely take less time to complete. This one was completed in one day from start to finish. I however find that small works are much more difficult to pull off. Fabric selection is so important as any particular fabric must say something in a much smaller space. For instance; I may need one piece of fabric to say light to shadow in one square inch. Textures and patterns are also important as large patterns may overwhelm the piece with pattern and take away from the cohesiveness where as patterns in a large piece can add to the character and texture of objects within a piece. For example. a striped fabric could say trees growing in the background  or a marbled fabric can translate as rocks. The same fabrics used in a small piece may not work as the stripes may be to wide to translate trees or the marble fabric now cut so small may not even look like marble.

Do you like working small or large? Either way, happy art quilting!


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