My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

2014 Fiber Arts Show

As my long-time followers who pay attention to such things know, October was the month of Sheridan's annual Fiber Arts (mostly quilts) show, which I usually document each year in multiple posts. But this year, not so much. I was underwhelmed when I first ran into the library at the start of October to do some camera-less recon. Usually the place is ablaze with an abundance of brightly colored, lively-patterned quilts, but I found the overall effect of this year's display comparatively drab. A couple of quilts caught my eye right away, but I couldn't even get to one of them (the Halloween one, which will make its second blog appearance here) because there were two people working at a table in front of it who wouldn't budge, and just gave me crusty stares as I tried in vain to peer around them at the quilt. (I've never seen anyone working at that table before, the vast majority of tables and work areas being on the main level). Adding insult to injury, one quilt glorified killing animals for "trophies," complete with a couple of ghastly photos of their victims pre- and post-slaughter. Ugh! After the quilts I spent a few minutes checking out the other fiber arts and was very drawn to a couple of them, but frankly I left the quilt show disappointed, miffed, and with no intention of returning with my camera or doing a post on it this year.

But the show is at the library for an entire month and I am a frequent borrower of books and DVDs, so I couldn't not look up and see the quilts on the mezzanine above every time I was there… and a couple of them, at least, kept catching my eye. And later when my friend Pam shared a compelling description of her favorite quilt, I realized I'd missed it completely. But perhaps most galvanizing of all, I was seriously pissed about not getting a good gander at the Halloween quilt! So I decided to give the show a second look and a second chance, accompanied this time by my camera as well as by Pam, as part of our "Apollo Picnic" outing...

The most colorful side of the mezzanine so the only one I'm bothering to post.

The colorful "Scrappy Tulips" quilt on the left was the first quilt I noticed on my initial visit, and it kept grabbing my attention on subsequent library runs. Its neighbor, "Twin Peaks," grew on me over time - its neutral pallet isn't as eye-catching, but the design and quilting are beautiful. I can easily picture this on an antique four-poster bed, a handsome centerpiece in a warm and tranquil bedroom, and it's probably the one I would have most wanted to take home...

     Left - "Scrappy Tulips"     
Pieced & Machine Quilted
Artist: Peggy Gable
Quilted by: Becky Stedtnitz 

Right - "Twin Peaks"
Machine Pieced
Artist: Marge Hamilton
Quilted by: Laurie Sheeley


I shared a photo of this next quilt in its entirety on my Halloween post, but since a couple of you mentioned then how much you liked the border around the center panel, I thought I'd share this other photo. As luck would have it, in photographing the center panel I unintentionally captured at least some of that much-admired border around it...

Detail from "Who's Watching
Pieced Quilt
Artist: Tammy Johnson
Quilted By: Karen Van Houten
From a kit designed by Heidi Pridemore


And here was Pam's favorite, and the one she most would have wanted to take home with her. It hadn't caught my eye and I wouldn't have photographed it but for Pam pointing out the level of difficulty and years of toil it took to create. And the more I looked at it, the more fond of it I became. It really is a sweetly old-fashioned and pretty quilt! It's one I would have taken home with me too, but I think Pam would have cheerfully (and rightfully) tossed me over the balcony railing to nab it for herself. ;-) Thanks, Pam, for getting me to appreciate and photograph it!...

"Crazy About Hexagons
Artist: Jane Rader
Quilted by: Janis Fall 
"These 50,000+ hexagons are mostly representative of the 1830s time period using reproduction fabrics. The toile border helped even the sides out for the binding. 
It took about 10 years to make and was a great carry-along project."


This last one was my favorite quilt overall, for its fun, creative, original (and vegan, yay!) theme and, of course, its eye-candy quotient - because you know how I am about eye-candy (not to mention fruits & veggies!)...

"The Jars"
Machine Pieced
Artist: Janet Goss
Quilted By: Janet Goss
It took Janet five years to collect the vegetable and fruit fabrics used in the quilt, 
which she enlarged from a wall hanging to king size.


And here were the two fiber arts examples I loved… no coincidence that they're both autumnal (I love autumn's colors!)...

"Birches I"
Fiber Painting
"The inspiration for this piece was my neighbors' back yard."


And last, but certainly not least, perhaps my overall favorite piece in the show… 

"Fall Fairy"
Counted Cross-Stitch
Artist: Norma Just
"My daughter bought this cross-stitch for me to make for her. She also got the Winter Woodland Enchantress… Look for this one next year if my eyes hold up!"

Don't know about you, but Norma is my nominee for Mom of the Year! And I'm hoping she has a good optometrist, because I want to see her Winter Woodland Enchantress next year. :-) I was pleased with how my photos of it turned out, but they still don't capture how truly breathtakingly beautiful this picture was. I took this closeup so you could see the tiny gold beads in her hair, necklace, belt, and blowing around some of the leaves (click on it, or any of the photos, to see larger versions)...

I may just have to buy this pattern for myself! :-)


  1. As a former patchworker/cross stitcher I know just how much work goes into them. An awe-inspiring amount of work.
    It is my hands rather than my eyes which have bailed out on me - but it was a close fun thing.
    I am always intrigued by patchwork which incorporates curves - a cow to cut, a cow to sew.
    My favourites would change with the day, the mood - but I do love that fibre painting. I would happily give it house room - which would mean evicting something else.

    1. I know from my own cross-stitching days that it's a labor of love. Don't see how it could be anything but, given all the time and effort that goes into them!

      You could always just rotate one favorite item with another, hanging the Birches fiber painting to enjoy during the autumn - ur, spring there - man, you live in a confusing place! :-) I have one small pot on my kitchen wall where I rotate various treasures with the seasons. Right now it's a tiny bunch of Indian corn, soon it will be a small plaque of a spruce tree decorated with goodies for the birds, then later a small springtime cross-stitch made by a friend, and for summer a framed print of a basket of flowers. I can get away with it in part because they're all small and easy to store. :-)

  2. I wouldn't have to evict anything to have that fibre painting on my wall.
    The hexagons would have literally driven me insane before I was done with that quilt!! Or blind.

    1. Wouldn't it be cool to have that hanging by a window that overlooks the neighbors' back yard that inspired it? :-)

      I'm with you on the hexagons. No way do I have that level of patience or fingers that nimble! I'm glad that others do, though!

  3. Birches is definitely my very favorite. I know she called it a fiber painting but it looks like a framed quilt to me. I wish I could have seen it in person. I think from what I can see that the thread is the "painting" also know as thread painting but I might be wrong about that. Anyway, it's really pretty and I loved seeing it and am not surprised that it caught your eye. The cross-stich is lovely too and I do know how much work goes into that so I can appreciate it!!

    My quilt guild will be bringing in a quilt artist who specializes in Hexigons next summer and I've made some minor pieces with hexigons so I have a real appreciation for them so I'm glad Pam was able to help you appreciate it too. It's not my favorite pattern either but I do admire these types of quilts.
    My second favorite quilt was the jars. I have seen many of these over the years but a king size one! Wow. I can see why it took her so long to collect all the veggies and fruits! I have a few of those fabrics myself but I'd barely get a short row of jars done!

    Thank you, thank you for sharing it. Though I agree it was underwhelming compared to last year (I'm so glad I was there LAST year), it was still fun to see and there were a few that were noteworthy. Thanks also to Pam for getting you to take a second look!! I also appreciate the information about the quilts.

    1. "Birches" seems to be a clear favorite! (I always love hearing which pieces/cars/photos my blog readers like best!) I wish I could have gotten both a better look and a better photo of it, but it was on the bottom shelf of one of the scratched and cloudy glass display cases with the fluorescents creating glare, so even in person I had a hard time making out what exactly she had done. It didn't look like the thread painting you did, so I don't know if it's illustrated entirely in threads, threads embellishing a fabric photo transfer, or what! Unfortunately the accompanying card had no more info on it than what I shared here, and though I looked up the term "fiber painting" online, that was no help either. Well, whatever it is, it sure was pretty. Wish they'd hung it on the wall instead of putting it in the case!

      Maybe you'll have to share this quilt with the visiting hexagon specialist next summer!

      I thought it sounded fun, like a treasure hunt, being on the lookout for fabrics with a relatively hard-to-find theme to them. Must have been a sweet victory every time she found a good one! I just love the colors in it, it's such a vibrant quilt. I can't picture it on a bed, but hope she's got a huge wall in or near the kitchen on which to enjoy it!

      I'm glad you still found this post fun and comment-worthy, and was really glad you'd come for last year's instead of this year's. Of course, this year's was a lot less time-consuming to blog about! :-)

  4. I must say, never in my life would I have thought I would become a fan of quilt art...but you have totally sold me. I just love some of the pieces you have shared here in this and other posts. Amazing. The "Jars" and the "Birches" are incomparable...and that is not minimizing "Fall Fairy" in any way. Just wow! Thanks for the pictures and descriptions.

    1. Your comment made my day! I'm really pleased that you've enjoyed and developed an appreciation for some of these pieces on display in our little local show. Some of them truly are works of art. You might even enjoy taking in a quilt show in person sometime! There's nothing like getting to see them up close and personal, you'll be even more impressed. :-) Thanks for your visit and fun comment, VE!

  5. Not sure why I've never been to the library to see the quilts but will have to start going. I've done counted cross stitch so can appreciate the work. Fall Fairy is my favorite. It is wonderful to see the different forms art can take.

    1. Really? I figured between your and Rex's love of books, you're in and out of the library all the time and have taken in the show many times. Maybe next year we can meet up there around 1 Oct! They almost always have at least one really exquisite cross-stitch on display, along with some other interesting fiber art goodies. And of course, the quilts! (I'm hoping for a return to the glory days just a few years ago, when they had so many quilts they had them hanging on the staircase railing all the way to ground level - and man, were there some gorgeous ones that year! So glad I've blogged about several of them (including that one).

  6. I thought all the quilts you showed in your post were wonderful. Do you quilt? I don't remember you talking about quilting. Maybe you are like me -- I appreciate the artistic work that goes into quilt making but I would never have the patience. But I love to look and appreciate -- I think it is just as much fun.

    1. No, I don't quilt - I think we've talked about this on past quilt posts, that when it comes to quilting, we share an abundance of admiration but a paucity of patience. :-)

  7. It's to bad the show was disappointing, but the pieces you featured in this post sure aren't! I really love the cross-stitch and would also like to see the Woodland piece next year. It sounds fantastic!

    Is the fiber painting a piece of fiber that's painted on? Whatever it is, they did a beautiful job with it.

    While I do love the hexagon quilt a lot, I've got to go with the jars one being my favorite, as well. How creative! So colorful, too, which just goes to show how colorful a vegan diet is. Who knows, maybe the person who made it is vegan!

    Shame on the person who glorified killing animals with their "trophy" themed quilt. Out of all the beautiful themes they could have went with, they chose that horrific, depressing one? How sad.

    Once again, I adore the Halloween quilt! It's so cheery, colorful, and fun!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the selection, small though it was this year. Did you click on my link to the Winter Woodland Enchantress x-stitch? I couldn't bear to wait, I had to sneak a peek at a finished one. It's really pretty too, but I still prefer the Fall Fairy.

      I'm guessing here (in part by what I could make out by looking through the case at it, and in part by what I know Jo's "thread painting" was, as I think they're similar processes) that the Birches fiber painting is a photo printed on fabric and then embellished with stitching to add and emphasis details. I don't know if you remember the one Joanne made for me using a photo I'd taken of a rose; their styles and looks are different, but I think they share some similar techniques. I've studied my original photo and I just can't quite make out what she did! Maybe I'll have to look her up and tell her how popular her piece was and ask HTF she did it. LOL

      Oh yes, vegans do eat the rainbow! :-) It would be nice to think she's vegan… you never know! As for the "trophy" quilt, I didn't recognize the name of the person who made it (the names of the quilters become familiar after a while), and am hoping she didn't move here. It was not only distressing and depressing, it was very poorly done, and frankly ugly. Basically just a plain piece of off-white fabric with (I think) a plain gray rolled border. All she was doing was "showcasing" the four photos (all equally drab) printed on fabric and stitched onto the background. No artistry, no talent, no originality, and certainly no compassion for animals were shown. It did not fit in at all, and I hope not to see one like it again in future shows. The Halloween quilt, on the other hand, was definitely cheerful, colorful, and full of lively fun! I just love those Halloween colors, they really snap! :-)

  8. I'm with you on the Fall Fairy. The enchantress is pretty, but not quite as nice as the fairy. :)

    I thought there was something similar to the fiber painting from the past, but I couldn't recall what. Now I remember! How on earth did I forget about that gorgeous piece Joanne made you?

    It sounds like the "trophy" quilt was just as ugly and blah as I imagined it to be. Hopefully there will be no more of that in future shows!

  9. Update for everyone who admired the fiber art "Birches I" by Heidi Heuerman and wondered about her technique - Pam did some sleuthing and found a couple of great resources! I've linked Heidi's name beneath "Birches" to this first one, her book, Landscape Fiber Painting on Amazon. She also sells her needlework on her Etsy site, and will make a custom fiber painting using your own photo.

  10. What lovely quilts!

  11. Just beautiful! I can't imagine all the hard work and skill that goes into every one of them. xoxo


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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