Featured Artist–Sue Andrus

Sue Andrus says, “I  love to create beautiful art with fabric, paint and thread; using flowers, gardens and my surroundings as inspiration. Painting and sun printing fabric, nature photography, printing photos to fabric and more help me to bring my inspirations into my art.” You can learn more about her by visiting her website.

1. Tell me a little about yourself.

I am a wife, mom of three grown sons who are all in the military, step-mom to a daughter five years younger than me, grandmother of seven ranging in age from 3-24 years (stepdaughter has four children aged 13-24 years), and another new one due this summer. I grew up in rural western New York State, and have lived in Towanda, Pennsylvania, for 30 years. (Can I be that old?) I’m a genetically predisposed fabricoholic who began quilting when my now 22-year-old granddaughter was a baby (since I didn’t have any little girls to make cute ruffled dresses) using my stash of fabric started when I was in high school. I sold quilts, wall hangings, place mats, table runners, etc. from 1992 until I discovered art quilts ten years later and got hooked. I switched to selling art quilts and quilted jewelry when what I had been doing became boring. Late in 2007, I had to stop selling at shows due to medical issues that made setting up displays too difficult to do, and began looking into selling on the web. I now sell my art quilts, jewelry, and more from my shops on ArtFire.com.

2. Why did you join Postmark’d Art?

I started playing with making postcards and found Postmark’d Art while looking for an exchange group so I could have a “reason” to make more postcards and have others to trade them with.

3. When did you start making postcards?

I began making postcards early in 2006 when they began to be mentioned on the Quiltart list serve. I found they were a great way to try out new ideas in a small format.

4. How do you display your postcards?

I hang some around on various boards around the house and have a box that I keep a bunch in that are fun to pull out for others to flip through to drool over.

5. What have been some of your favorite themes?

Any theme that would involve flowers or nature in any form or another would be my favorites which leads to the next question.

6. Tell me about your other interests.

I love working with my flowers and gardens. My college degree is in Floriculture and I spent the first twenty-seven years after college working in or owning greenhouses, garden centers or floral shops. When the last greenhouse business I owned went belly-up, I was finally able to spend the time I had dreamed of in my own gardens —  taking photos of my flowers and adding more plants. I have perennials, trees and shrubs that I have collected, since getting married, in my huge flower gardens that surround my home. Many plants had been moved many times until we settled where we are 22 yrs ago. Plants and flowers have become part of my quilt art in the form of sun printed fabrics made using various leaves and flowers, photos I have taken printed onto fabric, and most recently flowers cut with a die cutting machine. My quilting gives me a way to garden using fabric when I am not able to play in the gardens outdoors, but I still dream of living in the middle of a botanical garden.

Hearts for Christchurch

American Quilter, the magazine of the American Quilter’s Society, featured an article in their May 2012 issue called “Hearts for Christchurch.” The article shares what Evie Harris, of Napier, New Zealand, did in response to the devastating earthquake of February 2011 that killed 182 people and is the costliest natural disaster for New Zealand to date.

Evie created a blog and posted simple instructions asking readers to send hearts, “. . . a small measure of something nice to give in this terrible time.” Thousands of hearts arrived from around the world. When the Canterbury Museum reopened its doors in September 2011, more than four thousand hearts were featured in the exhibit Hearts for Christchurch.

Evie continues to receive hearts on a daily basis. To learn more about the project and the exhibit, visit Evie’s blog here.

Featured Artist- Diana Welte

Diana Welte spends her days combining fiber, paper, beads and
whatever else finds its way onto her worktable into artist books, jewelry,
art dolls and fiber art pieces.  Postcards are among her favorite things to
make and she likes to imagine just how many people see her work – and that
of her fellow Mail Artists – as it travels across the world.  Her items are
sold under her nom d’art “Lilyweeds” out of her Augusta Kent Studio, named
lovingly for her hometown.  Examples of her work can be seen at her blog
Lilyweeds. She lives in Maysville, Kentucky.

1. Tell me a little about yourself.

My paternal grandparents opened a grocery with my grandfather’s World War I bonus,
so like my dad before me, I grew up in the family business.  We lived in the
small Kentucky town of Augusta, along the Ohio River, which made for an
idyllic childhood. My grandmother and her friends taught me needlework to
keep me busy while at the store.  Since I can remember, I’ve always worked
with my hands by drawing, crochet, knitting, and hand sewing.   My couture
sewing and knitting skills paid my way through college.  I absolutely love
to work with a needle and thread; I find it so calming.  My husband Joe and I
live in a third floor apartment which also contains my small studio space
overlooking the Ohio, in a town just a bit further upstream.  Our two
children have moved on. Our daughter is in finance and our son is an
attorney who also coaches baseball.  Our inside cat, babykitty, is a diva (she’s a
rescue and loves penthouse life) and Foo, our outside cat, earns his due by
keeping our historical building free from mice and the like.

2. Why did you join Postmark’d Art?

Simply because I was lucky enough to find such a talented group of women via
Franki Kohler’s open call on another art list.  Small scale art is something that
is interesting to me. How do you get all that expression in such a minute
spot?   I had seen The Graceful Envelope competition so mail art was a
fascination.  Postcards, especially Postmark’d Art, allowed me to combing
mail art with my love of fabric and fiber.

3. When did you start making postcards?

About ten years ago, when I was looking for a way to use up my tons of
fabric and paper scraps.  It became a challenge to see what could actually
be mailed and arrive safely.

4. How do you display your postcards?

I have a cupboard where I rotate them.  They get to sit among my favorite
yellow ware bowls and, when their ‘run’ is up, I store them in photo boxes.

5. What have been some of your favorite themes?

I love anything with color or letters.  I am really enjoying the alphabets exchange right
now  and I absolutely loved the petroglyph theme that happened recently.

6. Tell me about your other interests.

Reading, reading, reading!  I read everyday: fiction, non-fiction.  Just
love it.  I make artist books and jewelry.  Next on my list is to learn how
to make clay beads. Anything that combines fiber, paper and beads is
heavenly for me.

First Friday Studio Tour – Evie Harris

This month we are traveling to New Zealand to visit with Evie Harris. In addition to giving us a tour, Evie has shared her story of creating a lovely studio from what was once an aviary.

Evie’s studio project

We bought our property two years ago, and twenty years before that the building that would become my studio was the breeding aviary for canaries!

This is what I first saw prior to buying the property

Unused for at least 10 years, it was a disgusting mess, with cages lining the walls and unmentionable stuff lining the floor.

Not my first view..on that day there was an even bigger mess. By now the previous owners had removed some of their junk. Taken from the doorway
Taken from the other end of the room
Finally a blank canvas awaiting cladding… those doors to the outside aviary are about to be covered

The outside aviary is gone

It’s taken a lot of work to get it where it is today. A few things still need doing, like painting the recycled door and covering the hole in the wall where we had to put in a new power box (I also love how many power sockets we could put in, and the fact they are at an easy reach height). The floor was covered with linoleum and grime. Hours of work scraping inch by inch revealed a lovely wood floor with all the marks of time …I don’t want to cover it.

Do you call it a studio or sewing room?  To yourself, to friends and family?  Why do you think this is so?  Difference in starting point between quilting and art?  Thinking of this as a business rather than a hobby?

I have always called it a studio. In the transition from sewing on the kitchen table to a career as theatrical costumer, I went from table to room to Studio. I do enjoy saying “I’m going to my room now!” My family and friends call it a studio. Costuming was my business. I have never been a ‘Quilter’ and my art was in the Performing Arts area. Small fabric art is just as much of a joy.

Moving in…

I love that my studio is in my back garden.

What do you have in the room?  machines, supplies, fabrics, paints, etc.  Anything that might surprise the rest of us?

My most loved piece is my cutting table — built for my height and that purpose.

I have two overlockers, three sewing machines and all the usual suspects of fabrics, paints, embellishments etc., and an abundance of “could be useful.”

First project was to make a quilt for the cream studio chair

Running along the exterior wall of my studio is a storage area which houses tiers of containers of fabric, mainly the left overs from costuming.

This is where the bulk of my fabric is stored, out of the sunlight.

To fellow stitchers I am known as a treasure trove for free rummaging for that unusual bit. My little cupboard under the sink (I love having a sink) houses all the odd handyman type things and my favourite tool….a tagging gun.

How is your “stuff” organized?  How do you organize your fabric? By color?  Amount? Any separate categories (batiks, hand dyes)?  How do you organize your thread (color, weight)?

Baskets, boxes, tins, jars, bags, drawers, a cupboard and a large area under the cutting table hidden from view and camera! I know where everything is ….99% of the time.

 A drawback of my studio is how much sunlight it gets. Nearly everything needs to be put away and I consider carefully what I have on the walls. Things can quickly fade and rot. I don’t colour coordinate anything. Fabrics are stored together by type and amount —  large or small amounts. Everything is labeled.

Do you have anything, supplies, more machines, etc. tucked away in any other rooms of the house.  How many other rooms? (My husband likes to talk about that one.) Has a family member or significant other ever accused you of “taking over” the entire house? If you have a separate building, we want lots of pictures.

I have one basket in the lounge with current hand sewing.  My magazines and books are in various places, and I like that non-stitching friends have a flick through them which, I think, perfectly justifies having them being spread about!

How much horizontal surface do you have, and is it ever enough?  Do you have to move piles of stuff to cut anything bigger than a fat quarter?

I have enough space. My cutting table can manage several small projects at the same time and easily handles larger projects. I’ve cut thousands of meters of tulle on it for tutus. Though heavy, I can pull it away from the wall for easier access for cutting or when people come to play. When I made a queen size quilt pin basting on it was easy.

Do you straighten/organize as you go, putting each fabric away as you cut, or do you clean up after a project?  How many projects do you work on at a time and how do you keep them organized?

I make quite a mess when I am working and do not stop to put things away — happily,  things drop on the floor. Once a project is finished — or at least at a stage it can be put away (to be rested, not as a UFO) — then I will tidy up. I do use labels on some containers which makes for a speedy ‘tidy up.’ Everything does have a place. I generally stand back, look at the gaps and know where things should go.

Anything more you want to add about your studio, organization, working methods, etc., please do.

Stepping outside, three sides of the studio look like a tin shack. The fourth side is the storage area and a wooden deck where the attached rusting aviary once was. This is still a work in progress, but already it has been successful for a dyeing workshop. I love my studio!

This was once that rusted old aviary. The storage area is behind the yellow wall. This area is still a work in progress….the blank wall is yet to have it’s finishing touches and I need to find more unwanted chairs to be upcycled …..the two there haven’t really been fixed, I stabilized lots of loose wicker with masking tape just for the photos!

This shot shows the test pot canopy….any one of these colours could have been the interior colour of the studio! Thank goodness for test pots given how I thought some of those colours would work!

The white trolley/table is the former wooden surround for our worn-out barbecue. Cleaned up and painted white, I use it to load sewing projects and wheel them to the deck where I can sit and sew with everything on hand. Might have to move the wine though!!

Thank you Evie for a fascinating makeover story.  What an amazing transformation, and the result is a beautiful result of all your hard work.

Visit Hearts for Christchurch, Evie’s response to the 2011 New Zealand earthquakes.

Next month:  Diana Mains Welte

Karen Musgrave Teaches in Italy August 2012

Join Karen at

Abruzzo School of Creative Art, Sulmona, Italy

August 22, 2012 (arrival) —  August 29, 2012 (departure)

The Class:   No Time to Quilt: An Artful Approach to Quilt-As-You-Go

Karen says of the class:

“The idea for the technique came from my desire to provide my students with a way to create artful quilts that could easily be completed, provided a way to straightforwardly understand color and be accomplished by both beginners and advanced quiltmakers. 

While quilt-as-you-go combines all three layers at one time, I will also share how you can add quilting and other embellishments.

On the first day, we will create a journal so that you can learn the basics and have a place to record your thoughts and keep notes. 

By the end of the week, you will have created a your own one-of-a-kind abstract wall hanging ready to take home and hang as a memory of your time in Italy. 

You will also have the foundation and confidence to continue to explore and express yourself using my technique.”

Deadline for registration is June 13, 2012.

Get more details here.

Catch up with what Karen’s up to now at her blog here.