Spring Quilt Market with Dian Stanley

Spring Quilt Market, the trade show for the quilting world, was in Kansas City, Kansas this year.  I work for Indygo Junction, an independent pattern company based here in suburban Kansas City.  I design patterns, make samples and do some office work.

Market was open May 18-19 at Bartle Hall, a large convention center in downtown Kansas City.

Wednesday, May 15th was “load in” day when everyone brings their product and booths and starts setting up.

It comes in all forms from wooden crates delivered by fork lift to plastic tubs pushed on a dolly.  Since we were so close to home this year we were able to forgo the wooden crates and bring a U-Haul truck.  Once everything is in your space, the hard work starts — unpacking everything and assembling the booth.

For Indygo Junction, setting up the booth consists of dressing manikins, setting up the video monitors, making sure the pattern rack is stocked with all the new patterns and all the samples are all placed to their best advantage.  Indygo Junction introduced more than 20 new patterns for this market.  It’s a monumental job to get everything displayed properly. The booth was finally finished by Thursday afternoon. My newest pattern is the ruffled purse hanging on the manikin in this picture (#7).

Thursday night is one of my favorite parts of any Quilt Market — it’s called Sample Spree.  Hundreds and hundreds of shop owners line up to attend this event. Many of the vendors set up tables and sell their products to shop owners in singles. The purpose of Market is to sell to shop owners at wholesale. Vendors set their own minimum order quantity. Indygo Junction sells 3 of each design, though at sample spree they will sell one.  Purchasing just one pattern allows a shop owner to take it back to the shop and “test” it before their full order is shipped.

My thanks to Peas in a Pod for sharing the above 2 photographs.

Most of those people run straight for the Moda booth. I think it resembles the running of the bulls. Moda has at least twelve 8-foot tables stacked four feet high with their newest fabric. They sell out in under 30 minutes. It’s like a feeding frenzy. Then the people start to visit other booths. Vendors can also take part in the buying frenzy. Over the years I have amassed a beautiful stockpile of silk, tons of machine embroidery thread, beads, books (signed), fabric and Bali Pops.  I go nuts!  It lasts until 10:00pm and by then everyone is ready to drop.

Market officially opens on Friday morning.  It’s so peaceful before they open the doors.

You have never seen so much fabric in your life!  Every fabric company on the planet has a booth and some of them are a sight to behold.

There are vendors of all sizes —  Moda and every other major fabric company, to distributors and the one-person booths.

Part of my job is to walk the show looking for new and different products and techniques that Indygo Junction could carry or feature in a pattern.  I know it’s a tough job but somebody has to do it!  And I get samples to try out. So much fun!  The small booths are my favorites. I love to see what the individual entrepreneur is doing. The creativity on display is amazing  The other part of my job is to work in our booth talking with customers about our new patterns and books.  That part is fun, especially seeing those repeat customers. I also get to meet celebrities like Nancy Zieman, Jane Sassaman and Pokey Bolton.

Market is open until Sunday at 4:00 p.m. when the reverse process happens.  Everything that was so lovingly put in its place on display, now gets put in plastic tubs and bags for the trip home.  It’s a lot faster to pack everything up than it was to unpack and set up.

Market is over but the work isn’t.  Now the administrative part of my job kicks in.  One of my responsibilities in the office is the “Sample Closet”.  That’s the place all of the samples live.  And after each market I have to find room for all of those new samples that you saw in the Indygo Junction booth pictures.  It’s always a tight squeeze.

Market is always fun and hard work — and it’s always good when it’s over!

Featured Artist-Maureen Curlewis

Maureen Curlewis is widowed and lives in Australia with her Abyssinian cat Sam. She is known for her sense of humor.

Tell me about yourself. 

I was born in the Kimberley region of northwestern Australia, the middle child of three children. Dad was a pharmacist in Broome, but relocated to Perth in the early days of WWII.  As a child I suffered from severe asthma and from those days developed my love of reading, drawing, writing and “fiddling with fabric” as my family dubbed it. I still have the first apron I made for my mum at about 10 years of age, and a doily made when I was eight.  As my health improved, tennis and swimming dominated my life.

I trained as a General Nurse at Royal Perth Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth and after graduation I got married. I was busy rearing a family and managing a mixed fruit orchard. Whilst my two sons and a daughter were small I made their clothes and that was about all the stitchery I had time for except for the odd bit of embroidery or knitting.

In 1974, we relocated from Perth to Brisbane, Queensland, because of my husband’s work in the earth-moving and mining industries.  In 1983 we had a “sea-change” and moved from corporate life to a more tranquil and rural lifestyle. Not long after the move I joined a local arts and crafts society where I was introduced to quilting and embroidery. Living in a subtropical climate, there are only so many quilts one needs, and besides I was a bit of a maverick and was not content with cutting squares and triangles and joining them neatly!

My first introduction to candlewicking (white work embroidery) led me to attempt adding dimension and texture to my work, especially in working with Australian wildflowers and Crinoline ladies. Next I tackled silk ribbon and Brazilian Dimensional embroideries. I taught both for a while. Then, in Brisbane at a quilting show, I met Judith Baker Montano and her embellished crazy quilting. I had found my niche.


When did you start making postcards?

In 2004/5, I joined the online group Aus/NZ Art Quilters (art quilt artists that live in Australia or New Zealand, or are citizens of these countries) and got involved in making Journal Quilts.  Through a swap organized in May 2006 between the Aus/NZ Art Quilters and (I think) the Rocky Mountain Quilters, I participated in my first postcard trade. The postcards were not mailed but taken to the U.S.A. by one of our members.

Why did you join Postmark’d Art?

I joined because I could see that the smaller format would allow me to tackle more techniques and if they didn’t work out there would not be too much angst if an unsatisfactory piece resulted. Well! That’s what I thought at the time.


How do you display your postcards?

My favorite postcards are framed and displayed on various walls in my home; others are displayed on shelves, and the recent arrivals are in a goldfish bowl in the open area where visitors can check them out.

What have been some of your favorite themes?

Whatever I’m working on at the time, although I did enjoy Favorite Songs, Cityscapes and Elements.  Each card I receive teaches me something new, both about how the artist perceives the subject, as well as new techniques for me to explore.  As very few of my friends are interested in fabric and fibre, I rely on my Internet friends to stimulate my imagination.


Tell me about your other interests. 

I have just purchased an embroidery machine and am looking forward to marrying machine embroidery with needle felting and producing some art quilts.

Apart from my fabric and fibre addiction, I read a lot: non-fiction, historical fiction, and the labels on jars, Quilting Arts and Sub Tropical Gardening magazines.

In early 2007, just before the death of my husband Ken, I relocated from the shores of Moreton Bay to the city of Redcliffe. After Ken’s death, I needed to live as a single entity, rather than as part of a pair that I had been for 46 years. Along the way, I took up learning to pilot a glider (soaring) but 15 to 20 flights later, I found it too expensive to continue. I love travel, particularly visiting other cultures. I volunteer as a tutor in English as a second language to newly arrived immigrants. I am a member of PROBUS, a seniors group of the Rotary Club.

I had been participating in musical revues but decided this year to “retire” and be in the audience rather than be on stage and acting also as wardrobe and props mistress.

Last but not least, my family is within an hour’s drive from me and there is always to-ing and fro-ing between us. My youngest grandchild is in year 11 at high school and there is always some concert or martial arts exhibition that she wants her Gran to attend. I have one great-grandson, but as he is in Tasmania and I don’t get to visit.

You can catch up with Maureen on her blog.

Franki Kohler — Artist in Residence

I was invited in 2010 to be the Artist in Residence during one of the five sessions that Empty Spools Seminars holds classes at Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA. Arrival day was Sunday, June 17, classes ended June 22. My sister Christy met me here (she is taking class) and was invaluable in helping me to hang my work and set up my work space in Merrill Hall, a stunning Julia Morgan designed building. The size of the hall allows for ample space.  The free-standing wall behind my space holds Princess Bliss of the Land of 4 x 6 who came along to keep me company and display postcards for sale.

And here is the opposite side of that free-standing wall where I displayed more of my work. This also captures a portion of the balcony where we hung my Christmas quilt. It is so fun to see the work together in this large, important space!

Across from my work space Carolie Hensley, owner of Cotton Patch in Lafayette, sets up a pop-up quilt shop. Carolie has been doing this for over 12 years now. What a job! But what a necessary luxury it is for the attendees to have those supplies just steps away from the class room.

I wasn’t kidding — it really is a pop-up quilt shop!

The first evening during the conference involves a gathering in Merrill Hall to introduce all of the instructors and the resident artist. A bit of anxiety here, of course.  I spoke about the events that took me from being one who makes bed quilts to becoming a fiber artist, complete with Power Point images. The first minute or so of speaking the tension was high, then I settled down and began to enjoy it. Whew! It seemed to go well — no one walked out of the hall while I was talking.

Here’s the stage, taken from the balcony.

Following the introductions there was a buzz at my work space with lots of questions about the fabric postcards, my book, how I work. Lots of fun!

My experience at Asilomar Conference Grounds was exciting for so many reasons. Just being at this jewel-in-the-crown California state park is a wonderful experience. Here are just a few reasons why.

This is the sunset view from my room. (Click on photos for a larger view.)

Walking on the boardwalk. . .

Interesting stumps!

Notice the three new plantings that will replace the decaying tree.

So, back to the primary reason I was there. Because my work area was the first spot with quilts people saw as they entered Merrill Hall, my brother-in-law Marshall commented that I was like a store greeter. Well, not a bad observation. As Artist in Residence I was the only art quilter who wasn’t taking a class, so I had the opportunity to interact with everyone who entered Merrill Hall and there were plenty. Empty Spools Seminars was just one of many conferences scheduled for the same week. (Their 2013 schedule of classes is available now.) And we had many day-tripping folks wandering in to see the Julia Morgan building we were in as well.  I was working on two different projects during my stay so I could demonstrate a variety of techniques that I use often during my creative process. I did not finish the broken ginkgo piece I took, but I got a very good start.

The fact that I used dryer lint as a background for this project always drew a smile. I needle felted the lint directly to a fast2fuse backing, hand-stitched sea grass cotton thread for the outline of the leaf shape and beaded like crazy.

This was a wonderful experience. I will treasure the memories for years to come.

Member Monday: More van Gogh

Last Monday we shared four of the fabric postcards that were created during the recent trade — all inspired by the master painter van Gogh. Here are the other four.

Debbie Geistweidt of Texas was inspired by Cypresses. Her fabric collage is covered with sparkling tulle and heavily stitched.

Jan Johnson of Nebraska was drawn to Sheaves of Wheat. I’m sure her part of the country had an influence.

Janet Hartje of Minnesota used a fused-raw-edge applique technique and Pentel dye sticks to create her Sunflowers.

Debra Svedberg of Minnesota said that she is intrigued by van Gogh’s use of the impasto paint stroke (visible paint strokes). She used embroidery floss to ‘paint’ Les Alyscamps. Her focus was to capture the trees as van Gogh did — vivid with autumn brilliance. I’m sure you’ll agree that she was successful!

There are ten themes to choose from each time we trade. Among the theme choices for our next round of trading are Chagall, Klee and Monet (we seem to be on an artist kick). I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!

Member Monday: van Gogh Inspired

During our last trade eight of us participated by creating fabric postcards inspired by  Vincent van Gogh. Each of us now have a fabulous collection of eight pieces of fabric art inspired by a master painter. Here are four of them.

Meta Heemskerk of the Netherlands created two thermofax screens, one from a Dutch postage stamp and a second screen using Dutch words that she associates with van Gogh. She used the screens to print fabric which she then stitched.

Sarah Ann Smith of Maine was inspired by Willows at Sunset. For her, van Gogh is all about color, spontaneity and line.  In the fall of 1888 he completed the painting and wrote to his brother

My dear Theo, . . . Everywhere and all over the vault of heaven is a marvelous blue and the sun sheds a radiance of pale sulphur, and it is soft and lovely as the combination of heavenly blues and yellows in a Van der Meer of Delft. I cannot paint it as beautifully as that, but it absorbs me so much that I let myself go.

Suzanna Bond of California painted an old linen tablecloth using acrylic paints. She then  cut it up, stitched it and mailed what she called “A Piece of Art.” Here is the full painting before cutting

and here is the piece of art I received

Even here you can see the thick strokes of paint she applied. And here is a photo of the group.

Franki Kohler of California also created a single piece that was cut into nine postcards. Her inspiration came from Starry Night. Here is the postcard she kept for herself. See the whole creation here.

This poem appeared on May 14th as the daily reading on the Writer’s Almanac.

On Mondays

by Marilyn Donnelly

On Mondays when the museums are closed
and a handful of guards
look the other way
or read their newspapers
all of the figures
step out of golden frames
to stroll the quiet halls
or visit among old friends.
Picasso’s twisted ladies
rearrange themselves
to trade secrets
with the languid odalisques of Matisse
while sturdy Rembrandt men
shake the dust
from their velvet tams
and talk shop.
Voluptuous Renoir women
take their rosy children by the hand
to the water fountains
where they gossip
while eating Cezanne’s luscious red apples.
Even Van Gogh
in his tattered yellow straw hat
seems almost happy
on Mondays when the museums are closed.

Watch for the other four postcards next week.

Empty a Spice Tin — Make a Book

Isn’t that what everyone does with an empty spice tin? Hmmm, well, it’s what Diana Mains Welte of Maysville, Kentucky, did and her book was published in the recent release of Pages 2012, the annual special edition from Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine and Interweave Press. The issue is hitting the news stands now.

Get the complete how-to instructions for creating your own book like this one:

Of course you could use any spice tin you wish

If this concept intrigues you, click on over to Diana’s blog to learn more about how a 2011 challenge from her group of book artists set her on this path. Here’s a peek. . .

All About the Back – Part Two

Most of the time a backing is attached after the quilting is complete so it’s always a nice surprise when someone sends a postcard that showcases the quilting. While Sandy Wagner simply ignored the quilting when writing,

Suzanna Bond’s quilting provided the perfect place to showcase my name and address.

Laurie Walton’s postcards often come with the most interesting holes.

While most people use neutral fabric or paper, others use paint, inks, rubber stamps, tea dyeing to enhance their backs. Others add fabrics and one of my favorites was from Mary Kunna. She added a pocket and a tea bag with her Inspiring Quotes postcard. It went perfectly with the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:  “A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water.”

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Join me on June 13th as we finish exploring the world of postcard backs.

Featured Artist: Kay Laboda

Texas-born artist Kay Laboda teaches and volunteers in San Diego, California. In addition to volunteering and making postcards and quilts, Kay makes pine needle baskets.

Tell me a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Texas.  My son once gave me bag with a picture of Texas and a cowgirl on it with the word GRIT written across it. Then in small letters it said: Girls Raised In Texas.  That pretty much describes me in many ways.  I tackle most jobs like I was roping a calf- full bore and with lots of gusto and determination.

I started sewing when I was about 8 years old by making clothes for my Barbie dolls.   My mom showed me quite a bit about how to make them and helped me with the hard parts.  I started making my own clothes in junior high.  I used to make clothes for my friends in high school to make extra money.  I started making quilts about five years ago when I was going through chemotherapy for breast cancer. A friend of mine gave me a prayer quilt and I decided that I wanted to learn more about quilting.  I took a class with Karen Cunigan through the San Diego Continuing Education program and fell in love.   I started and still facilitate a prayer quilt group through my church. Being able to make and give these quilts for others going through a tough time is incredibly rewarding for me.

I graduated from Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1975, with a BA in Fine Arts.  After graduation from college, I moved to San Diego, CA. I started working on my master’s degree in art at San Diego State University, but after getting married, I started having babies.  I never finished my master’s degree, but did go to San Diego Design Institute and received a second BA degree in Interior Design.  I worked several years specializing in Kitchen and Bath design.  Now I am retired, happily making quilts and babysitting for my grandson Nehemiah.

I do teach fiber arts classes for my church.  I have taught several fabric postcard classes that are very popular.  I also teach how to make fabric baskets and in the summer I will teach a one-day mystery quilt class.

Why did you join Postmark’d Art?

I found out about fabric postcards in the quilting class and discovered Yahoo groups.  I joined Art2Mail and when the group disbanded after a couple of years, I found and joined Postmark’d Art. and like the group a lot.  We have become friends and at times a support group.

How do you display your postcards?

I have them in a special album that you can view front and backs.  I also have some on my kitchen pass through counter top.  I change that up when I get new ones and I keep some on my desk in my studio.  I love sharing them with my quilting groups and with the people in my fabric postcard classes.  Everyone finds them so fascinating.

What have been some of your favorite themes?

I don’t know if I have a favorite.  I love the theme groups and always have so much fun making AND receiving them.  I love the landscape postcards that I have made and received. I think I will enjoy the upcoming Claude Monet theme, as he my favorite artist of all time. I also have enjoyed the alphabet group.  It really is amazing how everyone comes up with such creative and imaginative works of art.

Tell me about your other interests.

My other passion is for an organization called Royal Family Kids Camp. This is a camp that I help organize and run for abused and abandoned children that are currently in the state foster care system. They are ages 7 through 11. We take them for one week to one of the local camps in San Diego County for a week of safe fun. They arrive with frowns and withdrawn. They leave with smiles and hugs. You can read more about this camp at http://www.rfkc.org

I also volunteer at Visions Art Quilt Museum in San Diego. I serve on the Exhibitions Committee deciding on and planning the exhibits usually two to three years in advance. I also arrange where the quilts will go in the gallery once it is time to hang the next exhibit. I love this part of the job. Hanging the quilts is really such a privilege. We get the first look at the quilts and we get to hold and touch them (with white gloves of course). We always are in such awe of them.

First Friday Studio Tour – Karen Musgrave

This month we are visiting Karen Musgrave of Naperville, Illinois.  She has graciously answered our questions and shared pictures of her studio and beloved dog Meg.

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 call it a studio and encourage anyone who creates to have a space and to call it “a studio” even if it is a card table in a corner. It helps everyone around you and you too take what you do seriously, lets him or her know that it’s important to you.  For many years I did all my creating on a rickety card table that was set up between my washer and dryer. Thankfully the light was directly above. I am still amazed at how much I was able to accomplish in stolen moments between loads of laundry and sleeping children. I think it is important for all of us to both feel and show that what we are doing is important because it is. While I believe there is a difference between art and craft, I feel that creating anything is good. It puts much needed positive energy into the world.

By the way, my main studio is the second largest bedroom in our home. It’s on the second floor and faces north.

I feel that a quilt can be art so I don’t feel that there is a “difference in starting point.”

For me, quilting is both a business and a hobby. Actually my life’s mission is to change the world for the better with quilts. I do this with my teaching, lecturing, writing, curating and now with my group Crossing the Line: Artists at Work (CLAW).

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

I have everything imaginable in my studio and it is stuffed full. Virginia Spiegel once asked me to describe my studio in five words (not an easy task). I decided on stimulating, messy, memory-filled, packed and fun.  I have my Bernina 1530 sewing machine, lots of fabric, books, a bulletin board covered with things from my travels including a dried pomegranate from celebrating Easter in Armenia, drawings, etc., drawers full of rubber stamps, lots of  containers with beads, and books.

My collection of bird feathers and the bowls with rocks and beach glass might surprise some people.  I have a small handmade painted chest that has the bowls with rocks and beach glass (collected while living in Aruba), a heart-shaped Raku pottery rattle and a carved wooden spoon. I refer to as “my shrine to thread” since I have some of my thread is on a rack above it. I have Tibetan prayer flags from my friend Carol Each hanging across the three windows in the room. I love the funky clock that my husband gave me one year for my birthday.
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)?

I try to keep like things together. My fabric is basically organized by color with the exception of hand dyed, silks, linens and Day of the Dead fabric. Smaller pieces of fabric are stored by color in an old chest of drawers that belonged to my dad’s legal guardian, Robert. My thread is either on the wall (colors I use often and go through quickly) with the rest is in plastic containers under my cutting table. Rubber stamps and supplies for them are in a chest of drawers I bought from Ikea many years ago. It’s really heavy and tough to move. In the drawers in my ironing station are fusibles, some trims (others are in plastic containers), polymer clay and lots of miscellaneous goodies. My beading supplies are in my closet as well as a few of my books.

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 quilts stored in two linen closets and one bedroom closet. I have my paper and painting studio space in the finished part of the basement and a painting and wood working area and a place to be messy with fabric painting in the unfinished part of the basement. When my oldest son moved out, I made the guest bedroom my office and converted his bedroom into the guest room.  I’m lucky because my family embraces my taking over the entire house.

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 do not clean up as I go. When I am in a creative mode, I am very, very messy. My messiness use to be really difficult for my husband (a chemical engineer) who needs order.  However, I have to clean up now (didn’t use to be the case) in between projects. I am finding that the older I get the more organized I want to be.

I have always worked on multiple projects at one time. I like that I can let things rest and work on something else. I usually have around five projects going at once. When my design wall gets too full, I know it’s time to not begin anything new and focus on finishing.

To keep organized, I use containers and tote bags to store projects so I don’t have to go hunting.

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

Don’t worry about having all the bells and whistles. There is no right or wrong way, just whatever works for you. Pay attention to how you work so you can figure out how to facilitate the best environment for you. Think zones. Remember to have fun!

My chocolate lab Meg was the best feature in my studio for more than ten years. She loved fabric! She would dig around in my scrap bin, find a piece she liked and carry it around. When the doorbell would ring, she would run into my studio, grab a piece of fabric and give it to the person who walked in. It always made people smile. My friends use to try and entice her to give them certain piece but she would never give in. I guess she knew best. Unfortunately, she died of liver cancer and I still miss her. My black cat E.G. does not like her picture taken (must take after me). She loves sleeping on fabric so you can find her in my studio often. She loves sleeping on quilts while I machine quilt.  However, when she sees the camera, she runs the other way!

Thank you, Karen, for sharing both your words of advice and your love for Meg.

Next month: Sue Andrus