Friday, March 30, 2018

"Mars" by Collin Ruff Fellows

"Mars" - Collin Ruff Fellows' last quilt is monumental, a masterpiece.
"Mars" was on display last weekend at the Celebration of Life for Collin Ruff Fellows. Linda and I arrived thinking we were probably a bit early. A pair of shiny motorcycles stood outside, and people were already spilling out the front door.  The house was full of friends and family, and the celebration was well underway.

Marlin Hofer chatting with Linda McLaughlin in front of "Mars"
We were at the house the other day, setting up "Mars" on a quilt stand. It's a big quilt, and the monumental scale seemed apropos considering Collin's enormous talent. Collin pinned the quilt to prepare it for quilting the day before he passed away. His husband, Marlin Hofer had it quilted and finished by Kazumi Peterson. She did an excellent job.

square patches cut for Collin's planet series quilts
Collin left a lot of UFOs. For the non-quilters in the crowd, "UFO" stands for unfinished object, a work in progress, patchwork in get the drift. Some of these projects will be finished. Other ideas may remain in the sketchbooks for a while, and the sketchbooks are remarkable objects, too.

Collin's brother, Brandon introduced me to their relative, Malaika, who is currently working on Collin's Cathedral Windows quilt. She and I had a nice visit, and laughed about her taking on the project when she originally tried to warn him about all the hand sewing it would take. I tried to warn him, too. If you told Collin he couldn't do something, he would say, "Watch me!" That's just how Collin was, and all the guests at the celebration of life could see it when they walked in the door and saw the jaw-dropping "Mars" on display. When I first saw it, my jaw was on the floor, and that's kind of the same reaction I had when I met Collin and learned about his quilts. Rest in peace, dear friend!

Friday, March 23, 2018

another Hawaiian scrap quilt

Hawaiian scrap quilt, c. 1970, 45" x 54"
How could I resist this lovely little Hawaiian scrap quilt? It came from an eBay seller in California, whose family once lived in Hawaii. You can tell by the fabrics.

I call these quilts Hawaiian scrap quilts because they are made of Hawaiian scraps, the kind of fabrics seen in Hawaiian aloha shirts and muumuus. Most of the quilts came from Hawaii, but a few came from other places such as California.

The ones that come from Hawaii are usually just like this one. It has no batting or quilting, and could be called a patchwork blanket or "summer cover". The backing is green, and the palette is light and tropical.

This pattern is similar to the 1970s "Shadowbox" quilt in my Modern Roots book. It is a variant of the Economy Block, squares inside squares made of triangles. Diagonal grids are popular in Hawaiian scrap quilts.

Although I am not collecting much this year, I still have an eye on Hawaiian scrap quilts. I'm also eyeing some potential opportunities to exhibit the quilts in the future. It will be a lot of fun to see a large group of these quilts on display in a museum.

Saturday, March 17, 2018


an all-green, velvet quilt

It's St. Patrick's Day. I like green, so I'm going along with the whole thing. I made some green juice for breakfast. It has apples, pears, cucumber, celery, lime, ginger, kale and mint.

Juicing is new to me, and I usually like the red and orange drinks best, but green seemed to fit the occasion today.

Whenever I take a sip of fresh made juice, my whole body tingles. It's like the nutrients are coursing through my veins and causing little electrical sparks throughout my body. Maybe that means it's good for me. It's much better than green beer.

a green wholecloth quilt, c. 1790
Green is really my favorite color. That's a good thing, because I live in Oregon. It's very green here. Everything grows like a weed in the mild, moist climate. We endure months of rain, drizzle and fog to enjoy the remarkably green summers. St. Patrick's Day is OK with me, even though people get too drunk. For me, it's an early celebration of the green spring and summer just around the corner.

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Black & White Challenge

Last year there was a 7-day black & white photo challenge on Facebook. The only rules were: no people, no explanations, and photos had to be black & white. You were also supposed to tag people to challenge them, but I never did that part.

This year, I am doing a year-long, daily photo challenge with a buddy from high school, Peter Wortmann, who lives in New York. Peter and I were on the swim team together at the Peddie School in New Jersey for a couple years, and we reconnected recently on Facebook.

I was a few days late posting some of the photos last week when my phone was busted, but it's fixed now. At the end of the year I will have 365 black & white photos, little vignettes of my life during the year.

There's something great about black & white photography. It's only March, and I'm already enjoying looking back at each day. Maybe I'll make a book out of the photos at the end of the year.