Monday, December 31, 2012

My Attic Studio and Design Walls

The SAQA email list is currently talking about design walls in an unconventional space such as an attic.  Well, I can totally relate to that topic!  My studio is in our redesigned attic space we finished a few years ago.  We had 800 or more sq. ft. of open rafters and my brother came and spent a few months finishing it and creating a beautiful work space for me and another lounge area to escape to when the kids were all home.  I love my studio and have some peg board movable walls we had once designed for an outside art fair that I design my art quilts on.  Here are a few pictures. 

Design wall
The design wall is about 72" wide by 83" high and covered with cotton batting I stapled to it.  The wall is made out of pegboard so it's not heavy.  It also has feet perpendicular to the wall to make it free standing and stable.
Feet for free standing
My husband created this wall.  It is away from the back wall a few feet behind which I have shelving units for fabric.  Our space is very pitched and only has the two end walls for shelving units. 

My design table is a large particle board with a base I painted white and drew six inch squares on it in permanent marker.  The design wall is covered in cotton batting which allows fabric to cling to it or as in the case shown pinned to it.  I have my ironing board next to my design table where I work and I fuse directly to the design wall.  This year after many years of working up here we added to fluorescent light fixtures directly over the design table as you can see in the top photo with daylight bulbs.  For the first few weeks everytime I came up the stairs I thought it was super sunny outside!  We have a skylight directly over the table too, the only one in the attic.  I only wish I had more flat walls but I haven't found a space I would like better to work in that this one!  At the other end of the space we have the lounge area.
Lounge area

This is our other area to relax in besides our family room.  We have the heat pump/air conditioner which was a necessity since the furnace doesn't reach up here.  It keeps my space cool in summer and plenty warm for an always hot woman in the winter.  I just had my wall painted lime which I love and goes with my art work.  My work is limited in size to my design wall size which is perfect for me.  The largest piece I created was about 65" high by about 55" wide.  My triptych I created last winter was three pieces that I sewed together to make the finished size 8.5 feet long by 45" high.  I don't think I will ever make anything bigger than that! 
Le Poet Laval, Three Paths

Monday, December 17, 2012

Calendar of My Work

I have a new product available now!  My work is featured on my own calendar for 2013.  It has my favorite pieces I have created over the past few years including Port of Cassis, winner of 2011 Best Wall Quilt, AQS, Paducah, which now resides in the National Quilt Museum there.  Also there is Pont en Royan II, Colors of Winter, Cote d'Azur and many more.  It is available on my Tools page of this blog!  Only $10.00 plus shipping of $1.50. 

Cote d'Azur, 2001
Colors of Winter, 2010

Afternoon Delight, 2010
Just a few of the pieces in my calendar.  They came out very nice and make great gifts especially for yourself. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Stack N Whack Fun

Recently I finished putting together the pieces of my Stack N Whack project I began in April.  When I was teaching in Napa a friend who teaches the technique helped me choose fabrics using an angle mirror.  I chose a bold print by Jane Sassaman and another print with chickens on it I thought went well together.  Here are my choices.


I thought the chicken print would go be more of a quiet space between my larger print.  So I cut out the triangles and started to construct the design.  It was fun to try the six triangles in different orientations giving completely different looks.  I designed it on my design wall and filled in space here and there with the chicken print.  Then I decided to try some fabric with practically no strong print on it, some Kaffe Fassett fabrics, that were red/orange and lime.  I mixed three of each with three of the chicken print triangles getting a pattern. 

Here are some of the finished hexagons.  If you want to learn more about this technique, you can find information on the Internet.  Try to find the chickens in the print.  The bird in the Jane Sassaman print was chopped up into the blue sections and disappeared on reconstruction.  Such an interesting design.  It was quite simple to sew together considering how complex it looks!  Below is the finished design I have to top-stitch still.  I think it is really fun!  Try it sometime! 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Amazing Art Quilt Tahoe

This past week I spent teaching at Art Quilt Tahoe.  What a beautiful location!  My bedroom window looked out over the lake which made up for the lack of television.  My students worked on creating great artwork using my fusing technique.  Below are a few of the artists working. 

Randa working on her design
Students learn about color, value, texture, and design while creating their own project from their own photos.  They come up with beautiful products and have a great time doing it.  I also met other art quilt teachers while there like Rayna Gilman and Sue Benner.  Jane Sassaman was there and Libby Lehman.  It's a great venue and a nice working environment for a four day class. 

Jo trying to decide on color and texture
We all learn from each other's projects.  A broad range of subjects were chosen which is a great learning tool for all of the students. 

Pavana very happy with her results
We had a great time!  Look up some of my multi-day workshops available in the future to join us in creating your own beautiful realistic art quilts!  You can see my schedule on my website at  I'm very excited to be home later this week and get the opportunity to create some of my own art.  I was very inspired by my students! 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

Life is so busy sometimes!  I just spent a while in Colorado where I have never really been before and was totally inspired by the countryside!  Wow!  It was beautiful and awe-inspiring!  Grand Junction is amazing and I had a fabulous three day workshop with the AQuA art quilting group there.  They created some great work of which I hope to be able to post soon.  I haven't created any art in a while since I have been traveling and teaching but hopefully in the next few months I will be able to put something out there.  I did finish my latest Blue Cone Flower finally.  Here is a picture.

Blue Cone Flower III

I'm obsessed with the cone flower pattern I guess as you probably noticed in my last post.  This background fabric was great with the waves of blues, limes, and burgundies.  I top-stitched them with variegated thread and in the burgundy area I used a sparkling burgundy thread that shines in the light.  It looks really great in person.  I have to admit I had fun top-stitching it.  I don't always!  I have added it tomy Etsy page for purchase you can find at
This is a picture I took with my IPhone since I didn't bring my camera to Grand Junction.  This is about 20 minutes from where I stayed.  I could not believe how beautiful this was!  This is called the Colorado Monument which is actually an area of beautiful rocky mountains.  Strange and amazing.  I just kept taking pictures and they actually turned out really great on that phone, thank goodness! 

Then we went across this crazy bridge at the Royal Gorge by Manitou Springs where my husband and I stayed for a couple of days.  It scared the pants off of me.  The wind was blowing like a hurricane!  The bridge was actually waving in the wind.  I didn't like it.  But how spectacular!  One more picture. 

We saw this as we went into the Garden of the Gods in Manitou Springs.  It has been like this for a million years (or so).  You can see the lady by it at the bottom.  This thing is massive and looks like it's balancing there and it could fall over.  But obviously not or it would have a long time ago.  I hope they don't have an earthquake when someone is standing next to it!  So you can see it's quite a beautiful place to visit.  We saw a lot in our one week there.  It's not as large as Michigan I guess.  I will hopefully be creating some beautiful Colorado inspired art soon!  Sign up for my Newsletter on my website at on the home page. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Changing Fabric in a Pattern Completely Changes the Look

My Cone Flower Pattern has been very fun for me over the past couple of years.  I have been inspired by the variety of fabrics out there which when used give such completely different looks to the same pattern.  Here are some examples.

How fun is that!  I loved the blue one probably the best.  So I am currently working on a blue one with a very beautiful very dark background fabric.  Still stitching it!  You can see this pattern on my website at this link.  Try your own combination and send me a picture.  I will post it on my blog.  You can win a CD-ROM of your choice of any one of my four techniques!  Thanks for reading.  Lenore

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Amazing "Perfect" Scissors in an Amazing Countryside

I was just teaching in the Black Hills in southwest South Dakota.  What beautiful country!  I met these guys there with the big noses.  They were only about 8 miles from where we stayed outside of Rapid City.  It was  amazing!  They had the mountains and the stark brown rolling tree-less landscape. 

The hills were brown with no trees, mostly just small shrubs.  Very dry and brown.  Then you get to the mountains and they were very rocky with lots of conifers.  We stayed at Storm Mountain Center just outside of Rapid City.  The classes were great and the people were so friendly.  Karen Kay Buckley was also teaching along with Donna Thomas and me.  They both are incredible quilters who create work so opposite of mine and each other that we were amazed how they picked us all out to teach together.  So diverse!  Check out there work on their websites!  I love Karen's scissors.  I had taught with her in Tennessee at Tennessee Quilts in Jonesborough in July where she introduced me to the scissors she had designed.  They are going to be in EVERY quilter and sewer's tool box. 

She calls them the Perfect Scissors and they are.  Read more about them on the Tools Page of this blog!  You will love them as much as I do.  They cut multiple layers without allowing slippage of the fabrics with their micro-serrated edge.  We had a good time with the ladies in the classes and saw some beautiful new landscape.  More art quilts in the future! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Teaching Multi-Day Fusing Workshops

Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to teach multi-day workshops.  These are great for both the teacher and the student for many reasons.  Students can create large designs from their own photos and have a great finished art quilt.  They create a larger piece than my normal patterns using photos they are interested in.  My students have designed some incredible pieces that I am always surprised they get as much done on as they do during those few days.  Of course sometimes I think they stay up until midnight!  Here are a couple of pieces from students in the past. 

These students have created beautiful pieces that they will take home and stitch at their leisure.  In class designing and detail work with painting is done.  They learn to pay attention to value to give their creation depth. 
This windmill was beautifully created using various rust and brown textural fabrics.  The student added the birds to her design and the background was a gorgeous hand dyed fabric.  I'm so happy to have students spend three to five days creating these often ambitious projects.  They learn a lot and have a great finished art quilt when they are done!  Check out my schedule on my website at this link to find out when I will be having a multi-day workshop you can attend.  You can contact me for more information anytime at  Look also on my Tools page of this blog to see what you can purchase to create your own incredible art quilts like us!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fabric Paint Sets Available

After teaching many classes and always bringing my paints with me, my students have been asking about purchasing them themselves.  So after working with Prochemical I have put together a set of nine paints that I use on my art quilts.  Using these colors will allow you to match most any color of fabric you will be using.  They also are OPAQUE paints which means you can cover the fabric with them.  I prefer to not use transparent for this exact reason.  You can see through them.  When I use fabric paints, I'm trying to blend edges of different fabrics together so they look like they are just one piece going from a light fabric to a darker fabric.  This means you have to cover the edge of one and blend it to the edge of the next one.  So we want opaque paints.  This is an example below here. 


The dark red lower petals of these poppies are blended together to look like one.  Also the detail of ripples in the petals are added with the paint.  Below is a picture of fine detail added to a design.

The fine detail I add is like the shadows under the edges of the upper windows in this picture.  I painted some of the lines on the buildings and the slight shadows over the curved windows on the big arches.  This detail makes your design very realistic. 
The boat was a piece of muslin I added and then painted all of the detial on the insides of it with the fabric paint.  Anytime detail is too small to fuse, I paint it on with the fabric paints.  Fabric paint has so many uses in our art quilts and adding this detail and shading makes creating thesee pieces very exciting for me!  Hope you enjoy it too! 
You can purchase these paints on this blog on the Page of My Tools on the tab above!  Just click there and you will see them and brushes and also my CD-ROM available for making your own art quilt from a photo.  I will be creating my DVD on fabric painting soon too!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Quilt Life Article

My piece, Port of Cassis, is the Centerfold for the current October issue of Quilt Life Magazine!  It's very exciting to see it in this way.  The photos show it well.  Also toward the end of the magazine I have a technique article on how I create my architectural pieces from photos.  You can learn how to make your own art quilts from your own photos.  I of course always have my technique CDs which show in greater detail how to do this that can be purchased from my website at this link:  My latest technique Cd shows how to create a shredded art quilt using your scraps and some tulle.  Noriko Endo, a Japanese quilt artist, started using this technique and has made beautiful art quilts with it.  Also on this CD I show how I do my bindings using glue to finish it.  I never hand stitch any of the bindings anymore.  My fingers get so sore! 

Port of Cassis, 2011, Best Wall Quilt AQS Show Paducah 2011

This piece was very fun to create but also a construction challenge.  Sometimes we don't know exactly how to get the look we know we want.  I'm very happy it now resides in the National Quilt Museum in Paducah! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fabric Collage

I have tried a new technique!  I'm always trying new things since I get bored doing the same old thing all the time.  This technique is one where I was trying to emulate Laura Breitman's.  Check out her work on her website  Her work is incredible!  Very detailed.  It takes a long time to create a finished work using tiny pieces of fabric.  I used a little larger pieces for the background and I like the effect.  The rose is made up of very small pieces, about 1/2" in size.  The overall size is 20"H X 24"W.  The collage was created using gel medium on a white stretched canvas.  I used a little fabric paint to add detail to the center and brighten some of the edges.  The paint goes a long way in this technique.  I am going to try more of this.  No sewing involved.  I had never used gel medium and didn't know even how to use it.  But where there's a will there's a way!  I have a beautiful photo of an incredible sunset I have been wanting to recreate in fabric.  Not sure if I will do it this way or the regular fused way.  We'll see!  Check out my website at to see more of my techniques on CD.  I now have the shredded art quilt technique available on CD-ROM.  Also I have a lot of my art available on my Etsy site at where this rose is listed! 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

My Piece Le Poet Laval Three Paths in ArtPrize Competition

I'm very excited to have my large new piece, Le Poet Laval Three Paths, in the ArtPrize Competition this year.  It will be displayed at the City Art Gallery, 1168 Ionia NW, in Grand Rapids.  This is the link to their page.  You can vote for my piece #52383 if you are in Grand Rapids and register there.  The prizes are incredible and would of course be great to win.  This is a major competition with entries from all over the world of fabulous art.  Check out some from the paste exhibitions.  Art is placed all over the city where viewers can wander and vote.  This is a picture of my piece which is 8.5 feet long by 45 inches high.   It is three panels of different paths from the medieval village of Le Poet Laval, an incredible quiet village with a great small hotel and restaurant not too far from Chateauneuf-du-Pape (also great especially for wine!). 

I used a lot of Stonehenge by Northcott fabrics in this piece which are very textural and come in many shades of browns and grays.  I use a little bit of fabric paint to add fine detail to the piece and shading.  It was a very fun piece to do.  I did each panel separately and then sewed them together with a border between each one.  Hope you like it!  Below are each of the panels separately. 

I had taken photos in this village of many streets and decided these were the best to use.  My sky fabric was just perfect and helps to bring out the architecture.  Sometimes trying to figure out how to edit your picture is the most difficult part.  We have the wrong fabrics or the scene is lacking something.  So adding in flowers and taking out electrical boxes and other stuff is necessary!  Let your friends know about this piece in Grand Rapids in September!  I will be present at the ArtPrize Preview Reception at the City Art Gallery on Friday, Sept. 14 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Creating Commission Pieces

I haven't created many commission pieces in my career.  It's a very interesting thing to do creativity-wise!  I just finished this piece for a customer who saw my original piece from a few years ago and wanted a re-creation for her house.  I wasn't sure that I wanted to do it but the price was right and she was very accommodating.  This would be the largest piece I had ever created.  So I began it.  I wasn't sure it would be fun since I hate re-doing anything, but as it went along it was like doing a piece for the first time.  The original piece was much smaller and since I did it in 2007 none of the original fabrics were still available.  So I had to come up with different ones to get the same sort of affect as in the rock wall.  In this piece I was happy to have all of my Stonehenge fabrics collected.  The textural designs were very good for blending the rocks.  I found the fabric for the building on the very right which was a sort of peach/orange textural batik that I loved and then made all of the other houses go along with that.  The other thing about this piece being so large was that I had to add a lot more detail since everything was bigger.  It was also a challenge to stitch.  Pieces kept wanting to come off as I was sewing even after they had been fused down with my Misty Fuse!  I had to iron it several times during stitching to keep them in place.  The good thing about it is that the very close stitching really gets it to lay very flat.  I was very happy with the finished product as was my customer.  So here it is hanging in her livingroom.

Even though it was so large her wall was the exactly perfect size as she already knew.  The piece is 65"H X 53"W.  It gives warmth and color to the room, just as she planned.  She said her son had had possession of the room for many years and now that he was gone off to college she wanted to take it back and make it a grown-up's room, definitely achieved! 

So now I am working on another small commission piece which I wasn't enjoying so much in the beginning but am now as it is another one of those re-creations of something I have already done.  I have to stop making nice pieces so that people don't want me to re-create them after they are sold!  Ha!  I am looking forward to creating pieces for clients that are from their own photos or mine where I can use my creativity to produce a beautiful design.