Sunday, September 14, 2014

Generation Q Magazine

Just got my hands on a copy of the latest Generation Q Magazine, and I am happy to be included in the issue. More like elated, considering my lead page head shot is graced by six amazing quilt makers whose work I greatly admire. It makes me happy to see all their faces.

I had to smile when Victoria Findlay Wolfe was one of those happy faces. We were both in Generation Q previously, and more recently showed up on the contributors' page in American Quilter. That was the day I learned to be thankful for being at the end of the alphabet!

The Double Knit Twins :)
in American Quilter
Scott Hansen did a terrific job with the interview, asking some questions I hadn't been asked before. I shared stories about getting started as a collector, the point when I recognized my collection was something more, and what it was like to start making quilts after many years of collecting.

As usual, the magazine has an impressive lineup of articles, and many familiar names including some very accomplished guildmates from Portland Modern Quilt Guild. Get your copy today, for details click here.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000

Amazon review of Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000 by Roderick Kiracofe

A few years ago, Roderick Kiracofe and I met through Facebook. There was a page for sharing pictures of old quilts. We were both members. and I was posting a lot of pictures of the quilts of the 1970s. Roderick took an immediate interest in the quilts, and when he was passing through Portland in 2012 he visited my home. We shared a love for quirky, barely-vintage quilts, and I was delighted to learn he was writing a book - "Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000".

my quilt brought back fond memories for curator Amelia Peck
Before the book was released, Roderick sent me an e-mail to tell me there would be a big surprise for me in the book, but he wouldn't say what it was. I just received a copy, and not only is one of my quilts included as a full-page illustration, the quilt was mentioned in the essay "In Dialogue with an Anonymous Quilt" by Amelia Peck, curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. An excellent surprise, and I am honored-- but even without this personal connection to the book I would unconditionally recommend it for anyone who loves quilts and art.

The book will surely be one of the seminal quilt history books of the 21st century, a successful follow-up to "The American Quilt: A History of Cloth & Comfort 1750-1950". It is brilliant, full of vibrant, offbeat quilts, and excellent essays by noteworthy experts in the field of quilts and textiles. Worth reading cover to cover. This book ushers in a new era of collecting, a new breed of collector and a whole new genre of quilts. Perfectly timed, considering how much the new generation of quiltmakers in the Modern Quilting movement appreciate improvisational style. Thank you, Roderick, for generously sharing your quilts and your knowledge, for including quilts from other collections, and for giving us the gift of another amazing, memorable book of quilts.

To purchase the book, click here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

unconventional, unexpected quilts

strip pieced quilt, c. 1960
Today I celebrate the release of Roderick Kiracofe's new book, Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000. One quilt from my collection is included in the book, and I'm eager to get my hands on a copy. As a tribute, here are some favorite unconventional, unexpected quilts from my collection.

strip pieced medallion, c. 1970
pieced and appliquéd quilt, c. 1960-1970
appliquéd and embroidered bed cover, c. 1970
Double Wedding Ring, c. 1970
To find out which of my quilts was included in the book, order your copy today! Congratulations to Roderick Kiracofe on the successful release of Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000. Available now online - click here for details.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

meeting William Wegman

I love books, and have a whole collection of quilt books. Another very special part of my book collection is a stack of William Wegman books, inscribed with drawings.

only one of these books is not inscribed
Some of the inscriptions are personal, such as the covered wagon with Oregon on the side. Bill did that one inside My Town when he learned I was moving to Oregon.

Mom goes to church with Bill's sister, Pam, in Rangeley, Maine. Many of his great photos in rustic and natural settings were taken in Rangeley. One of the photo shoots for Little Red Riding Hood was done at my parents' location because there was a small cottage with red shutters, or maybe it was a tool shed. :)

One day I stopped by a photo shoot for The Hardly Boys. A dog was on a tall stool dressed like a gas station attendant, but he would not pay attention to direction. I think it was Chip, and he was sniffing a lot. Bill realized the dog wanted the rotisserie chicken from inside, so someone was immediately sent to get chicken.

As soon as there was chicken involved, the dog perked up for the camera, a large format box camera with the capacity to hold the big Polaroid 20" x 24" prints. There was a truck on site to develop the photos, and several assistants. It was fun to watch.

Bill sometimes did book signings at the local book shop in the summer, and Mom would get books to give me at Christmas. Almost every year for several years.

The first time I met Bill was at Rhode Island School of Design in the 1980s. He was exhibiting in the Benson Hall gallery at RISD, and much of the work was his early Man Ray work. Later, I met him again in Rangeley, at Orgonon of all places.

There was a tag sale every summer at Orgonon, the former home and laboratory of the infamous Wilhelm Reich. Bill was looking for props and clothing to dress up the dogs for photos. I have always enjoyed his quirky sense of humor. If you look through his books, you are likely to see items he bought at the Orgonon tag sale.

We knew Bill before he had the gig with Sesame Street, which introduced the dogs to a very broad audience. Every so often there would be a litter, a new generation of dogs. From Man Ray to Fay, to Battina, Crooky, Chundo and Chip. The dogs were all a riot, very smart, a little sneaky, and extremely photogenic.

Bill has done very well, and the dogs have always been treated like royalty. At Rangeley Lake, they would run around, off the end of the dock to fetch whatever was tossed in the lake. They were good swimmers and loved the water. I enjoy having so many of these books with the great drawings to remember meeting William Wegman and his famous Weimaraners. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

nice threads!

vintage chart, thread held behind cut-out windows
I have a little obsession with swatch books and samples lately, and found a couple neat vintage thread samples on eBay last week. They arrived the other day, and I have been enjoying looking at them. Both samples appear to be from the 1960s or 70s. The one from Conso Products is a small chart. The other, from American Thread, is a book with several pages held together by two metal rings. Each page has its own group of colors.

Look! Turkey Red!
They needed this chart on Project Runway last night. Emerald, not Hunt Green!!
I'm not sure what I'll do with these samples, other than share them and keep them out of the sun. It would be interesting to know if anyone remembers using these threads back in the day. Did you use any of these threads for sewing projects? Leave a comment and share your thoughts. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Quilt! Knit! Stitch!"

"Plain and Fancy" by Kristin Shields
"Quilt! Knit! Stitch!" took place last week at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. What a treat it was to have such a great show in town. The show is part of the repertoire of Quilts, Inc., which annually runs the big show in Houston and a few other shows around the country. Last year, Quilts, Inc., came to Portland after ending its run in Long Beach, and all of us in Portland hope the show keeps coming back here.

The show included vendors and several special exhibits. I went especially to see the MQX Showcase because Janet-Lee Santeusanio was giving a walking tour of the exhibit each day. It was stellar group of quilts showing the possibilities of machine quilting today.

"A Truly Feathered Star" by Karen Sievert
"Gentle Journey" by Vicki Ibison
"Marie's Poppies" by Carolyn Rider
"Tuscan Sun" by Gina Perkes
"Just Call Me Modern" by Judi Madsen
"Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" by Janet-Lee Santeusanio
There were several other exhibits, such as the Robert Kaufman Modern Metallics and Modern Glitz Challenges, as well as a group of several past winners from the Houston show.

"Golden Geese" by Kristin Shields
"Organic" by Jade Prosser
"Metallic Bonding" by AnnMarie Cowley 
It was a treat to see so many quilts from fellow members of Portland Modern Quilt Guild in the Modern Glitz Challenge. Those were some interesting fabrics, offering a good challenge. Kudos, guildmates!! Here are a few...

"Criss Cross Xs" by MaryAnn Morsette
"Glitzy Dots" by Cath Hall 
"Superfly Mini" by Michelle Freedman
"Half Life" by Anne Whiting
"Deco Glitz" by Kelly Cole
The rest of the show was also wonderful, and included some of the quilts from last year's Houston show. It was great to see them in person after admiring photos online.

"Quilt Noir" by Shirley Gisi 
"Illinois Album" by Jane Sassaman - one of my favorites!
"Illinois Album" (detail) by Jane Sassaman
"Brown Planet a Collaboration" by Norma Schlager and Kathy Loomis
"Gorsuch Family Quilt c. 1840 Revisited" by Margo Hardie
It was fun to see so many familiar quilts in person, and also many familiar names and faces. I didn't spend as much time looking at the quilts as I should have, but it was a busy week. The introduction for my book is almost done, and various other projects are in the works. It was nice to take a break, with a 15-minute drive leading to such a wonderful display of quilts!