Archive for the ‘Collaboration’ Category

Moving Blanket: Stengle

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

My friend Sarah is an accomplished maker of things. If you know her, you know. We’ve had an ongoing appointment on certain Tuesday evenings to get together to work on projects. Over time many women have worked with us; fun is had by all. When Sarah decided to move, it became clear to me that the best way to prepare for this shift was to offer some of her nears and dears a chance to participate in the creation of a Moving Blanket especially for her.

This particular quilt includes fabric Sarah gave me: the pink striped shirt she would wear in the studio, a night watch plaid shirt that belonged to her Dad. Anticipating a Tuesday night devoted specifically to preparing this quilt, I pulled out fabric that had been donated by mutual friends. As is my custom, almost no instruction was given, and people improvised with what they brought and what was available.

An unusual addition to this mix was the use of denim. Normally I use shirt weight material but because Sarah and I both love the Gee’s Bend quilts, it seemed appropriate to include some Levi’s 501 jeans in homage to those compositions of workclothes, which visually resonate like the most evocative Abstract Expressionist color field paintings.




Moving Blankets

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

A new series of quilts is coming along.  Using a basic format of four foot by six foot, quilted with an undulating wave patterned after utilitarian packing blankets, these quilts can withstand serious use. Because I’ve been collecting for a long time, there’s a lot of patterns and colors to choose from. Rather than control the whole process from beginning to end, this series gives numerous other people an opportunity to participate. The best part, for me, is seeing how people identify with certain fabrics: their choices are a reflection of their own aesthetic.

At the Mercer County Teen Arts festival this year, I asked 40 students to select fabric from a big pile. They picked at random; ironing, cutting, pinning and joining their two fabrics with the available iron and sewing machine. They did all the work themselves, with supervision but little intervention on my part.

Here is the result: I added the blue fabric with the poppy print to help unify the composition.


The back is composed of fabric given to me by friends, which is both cheerful and funky with the repeating pattern of squirting tubes.


My friend Harriet completed her second quilt, and gave me the leftover fabric – including some 12″ squares she’d made following a checkerboard pattern in a distinctive palette including acid green, turquoise, harvest gold and lemon yellow. Alternate 12″ squares were pieced from my collection of curious scraps.


Marimekko back in two colorways:


This is another assemblage mostly using Harriet’s fabric, with a few unusual additions from my collection:


Michelle Post picked the backing, which is another cheerful Marimekko fabric:


Capital Health “Building Blocks” Completed

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

To create the two “Building Blocks” quilts for the Oncology area, the staff was invited to contribute fabric with personal significance. The resultant sentinel quilts are composed of nearly 100 fabrics, many with floral and botanical motifs.  Viewed from afar, the patterns appear as a three-dimensional geometric construction with interlocking edges.  Viewed up close, the details of individual fabrics emerge, and the topstitching is a handwritten poem about the limitations of cancer, “What Cancer Cannot Do”.  This is a permanent installation, thanks to Lin Swensson, who commissioned the project as part of her holistic vision of incorporating healing art into the hospital’s environment.

Building Blocks

Lucky 13, Completed

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

The blocks created on Friday May 13 at the Teens Arts Festival at Mercer County Community College were put together in time for the annual solstice celebration Art All Night in Trenton.  The quilt was hung at the Artworks table and credit was given to the collaborators: Samrah Ahmad, Evan Bedser, Laura Bentivegna, Iona Binnie, Meredith Bloomberg, Spencer Carrow, Lindsay Craig, Ariel Drossman, Laura Durr, Emma Freedman, Carolyn Fick, Genna Garlock, Rebecca George, Sarah Golobish, Stefanie Hernandez-Mendez, Ellen Klein, Janice Konadu, Metri Kumar, Jada Levine, Amy Loesberg, Ariel Lund, Olena Lymar, Sharon Mendez, Kyee Min J., Monica Naropanth, Caoimne O’Sullivan-Roche, Dhvani Patel, Naina Qayyum, Naita Rao, Ipsita Rar, Stephanie Retona, Kalilah Sabree, Niharika Sahay, J. Mikita Sashihara, Cheyanne Setnestica, Shivani Shah, Sarah Stengle, Keona White, Brittany Woodruff, Kim Woodruff, Camelia Wu, Elena Wu-Yan. (Please note that I copied this from a hand written list – if a name is not spelled correctly, let me know and I will make sure to correct it!)



Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Beginning on Friday May 13 at the Mercer County Teen Arts Festival, a quilt made of 169 squares will be constructed in time for Art All Night Trenton 2011.  Over 40 teens participated in the process of stencil pattern making, tracing and painting individual 4″ squares with the number 13.  More to come about the progress of this collaborative effort!


Photo by Frank Jacobs

Independence Day Weekend

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

So the visit with Harriet & Nicholas was a resounding success.  Though it was hot out, we knuckled down and got the Mega quilting process done in one day.  Working together went really well, we stabilized the machine’s tracking together and were mesmerized by the psychedelic variegated purple thread from Canada which changed color as we sewed.  We got going on 4th of July morning, fortified by Peet’s lattes and by a nice break for a late brunch with Sarah Stengle.  We got back to it and finished the first pass over the whole piece in time to head up river for some wing dam boogie boarding fun up near Scudder’s Falls.

The next morning we figured out the piecing for the finishing, and made four sides of binding with one side stitched on for reference.  Harriet’s got lots of work to go, but it’s coming along BEAUTIFULLY.

Here are some pics:

Mega QuilterFront side of Harriet’s quiltReverse side of Harriet’s quiltHarriet and Nicholas

Merry Christmas, George!

Friday, December 25th, 2009


George Davison was first encountered by me on a rooftop at a party in downtown Santa Barbara, CA in 1985.   There was a colossal sky full of stars. We were looking at the Milky Way, and had both recently read the “Electric Kool Aid Acid Test”.  He has a way of being in interesting places at interesting times.  As a raconteur, he is unparalleled. When I came home to SB he was one of the people to track down.   If anything interesting and worthwhile was happening in our sleepy beach town, he’d be in on it, would tell me about it, and often I was welcome to tag along.  His musical talent is undeniable: while I knew him, he played lead guitar for the aptly named Bitch Magnet, but his legendary status long preceeded that incarnation.  When word came that he’d been fighting cancer I figured it was time to rally.  A number of our mutual friends contributed fabric to the project.  Scott Williams, a Bay Area artist, created a number of amazing stenclied blocks which elevate this quilt to the fine art level.  Katherine, William and Cecil de Mille joined Patty Smith, Simone White and Robin Robinson in giving fabric.  One fun weekend found me, Harriet Mc Caig and Nicholas Croft in a fabric blitz, sipping champagne and listening to tunes while figuring out which block should go where.  All I can say is, the best projects have serious meaning attached.  The intent all along was to make something from all our disparate parts, something useful to keep our friend warm and to remind him we love him, near or far.

Post/Carrow quilt

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

My favorite thing to do in quilting is to make something specifically for someone I care about.  Recently I have been fortunate to work on a few of these sort of projects.  The idea of adaptive re-use is one shared with a number of artists I know, notably my dear friends David Carrow and Michelle Post.  Both are incredibly talented, accomplished makers in their own rights, and their combined forces have resulted in an evolving collaborative process which is an inspiration to all who know them.  Tuesday evenings are a time for friends to work on creative projects together at my house- often we have a jigsaw puzzle going, and once completed they go to Post for incorporation in her work.  We decided to barter- she’ll do over a(n) Hoosier cabinet I have which needs her wild and wonderful treatment, and I’d make a quilt for her & DC.  The process was great fun- I have a lot of fabric with fish patterns, and Post is a Pisces.  Carrow is a Sadge, (like me) a fire sign.  He served in the Navy and shares a love for sailing with Post, so we chose a number of nautical themes to work into the design.  I always encourage participation in fabric selection for custom pieces- Post was clever in hunting down some good stuff from her local Millville fabric store, including the backing and border fabrics.  This is the quilt in progress:

 Post/Carrow quilt in progress

The finished piece is shown under “Custom” in my website.