Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sneak peek

Here are two slices of my now completed piece.... due january 31.
it may seem strange when it is unveiled, but it does depict my sanctuary. I have always known what it is but wasn't sure how to portray it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


My picture was lost. Here it is.

Here we are

My sanctuary and me. When the theme was published, I had a certain picture

in mind, I did take at a special place. I like the atmosphere, it shows - but was not certain, if I should take it for this quilt. But one of my words for this new year is

fun, having fun creating my art and feeling free to create what I feel.

So I have taken this picture and did my quilt with it.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Here's my peek

The holidays, working two jobs, and being sick most of December did me in so I got a late start on Sanctuary. But I have made great progress these last four days and am ready to give my little peek.

So far, I have used both commercial and hand dyed fabrics, prisma pencils, and acrylic paint. There will be additional paint added and some thread painting. Who knows what will be added by the time I am done; I do love a good surface embellishment!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

all about me: Karen

My name is Karen Bates and I live in Ashland, Oregon. I am originally from Los Angeles but I have been an Oregonian for almost 20 years now. I have four children - two boys and two girls and I began quilting when I was pregnant with my oldest who is now 27. That is how I keep track of my years following this passion. I have always loved fiber and the colors of the fabrics kept me coming back for more.
I actually began the journey in High School when I embroidered on the back of work shirts. From there I progressed to hand appliquing a chupah - a canopy for a Jewish wedding that was the size of a quilt. I figured that if I could finish that piece (which took about 200 hours), then certainly I could create a quilt. My first class was with Mary Ellen Hopkins and I was hooked. I made baby quilts for every friend who was pregnant...and now their kids are having kids...but I am on to art quilting so I am not volunteering to make any more baby quilts.
I work at our local quilt store (Quiltz) both selling fabric and teaching classes. I love teaching and I love taking classes so I am always trying new products and techniques. I have a blog where I try to post a new project every Sunday ( I have been doing this for the last two years so you can see a lot of my work there. I also have an art challenge group and when we hang a show, I post pictures of everybody's quilts.
The first picture is a view of one part of my studio. You can see the Phoenix Rising quilt which I created for my 50th birthday. My cutting table was built by a friend and it has wings on both ends so that I can pin large quilts.
This picture is my fabric wall-don't forget it is a 28 year collection and my best friend, Rascal. He is a Labradoodle who follows me everywhere. I have two design walls across from each other.
You can see the cutting table better and some of my many storage boxes. I am an avid garage saler and I stock up on storage drawers and goodies to fill them with all summer long. My sewing machine is in the back corner beyond the cutting table. I moved into this house 5 years ago and I designed it with the builder. The only thing I really cared about was my dream studio...and it is.
My biggest accomplishment was my goal of entering at least 10 shows last year. I had two quilts in Sacred Threads, one at a museum in Ohio and one is part of the SAQA Transformations show. I have others touring the country with Anne's California Fiber group and I just took down a one woman show that I did locally at a restaurant. I love having my quilts on display and I am always happy when one sells. In the meantime, I make patterns which you can see on my website at and there is a gallery of older quilts there too.
This year my mantra is Focus. I need to develop a series and really decide what my style is. I love free machine quilting and getting dimension whether it is with yarns, beads, soy silk or other materials. I am excited about being part of this group and I have completed the first quilt...of course I had a mental head start since it was my word. I have never made a quilt this size before and I found the dimensions a real challenge for me.
Rascal and I take a long walk in the mountains almost every day and that is my sanctuary so my quilt definitely revolves around nature. Can't wait to share it and see yours.
I am happy to answer questions and I look forward to reading about the other members of this group.

finding sanctuary

I spent the day yesterday cleaning the studio so today I got to spend some time working on the many projects that are on the roster.

The one at the top of the list is my piece for the Sanctuary challenge coming due in a few weeks. I've been fiddling with it off and on for a while but finally found the right direction last week.

I spend nearly as much time writing as I do making fiber art. I've always got a journal and a sketchbook going at the same time, and I love handmade books. I usually treat myself and purchase a handmade one each year but I recently bought a couple of books so I can learn to make them myself.

It didn't take me long after Karen announced the theme as Sanctuary that I knew I wanted to do something about writing since I find total piece of mind when I do it. My initial plans were to make a black and white piece but the more I looked at it, the more underwhelmed I became with it.

So I did what any self respecting artist would do...I kicked its butt into the trash can and started over.

I found a good groove and today spent much of the day working on it. I stitch everything by hand and I mean everything. I feel like it connects me with the piece more. The first thing I do is what I call a foundation stitching. I like big bold stitches (I figure if I'm going to spend hours with the needle and thread, I want it to really show up) so that's the first layer. This holds everything in place (almost like a fancy basting except its permanent and part of the design) and then as I continue to add things to the piece, I stitch it more densely.

Here's a peek of the foundation stitching:

I also enjoy adding three dimensional things to my pieces as well so that's what I'll be doing tonight. I've got three elements that I'm pretty excited about so I need to stitch on those as well.

If you'd like to see an another sneak peek of a different portion of the quilt, please visit my personal blog.

Can't wait to show it complete!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Time to Connect

Hi all,
I was happy to finally see some posts. Helen, you beat me to it. So Here is a peek at Sanctuary. You can't tell a thing from the photo so I'll tell you a bit of my technique. I colored a silkscreen of my image with Caran d'Ache Neocolor Aquarelles and screened it with a medium onto muslin.

I also have used some cheescloth I painted with Dynaflow silk paints. I know about the poor picture quality, but I didn't have my tripod handy. I'm looking forward to new posts. Cathy Ortelle

Friday, January 1, 2010

Here we go

Here is my first tease of the challenge. These are some of the colors and textures I am auditioning for Sanctuary.......texture seems to be a big part of how I see this particular energy. Now I just need to jump in and see where this road takes me.
It is New Year's Day and Dennis, my husband, and I are planning a quiet day. I already walked my lab, Josie, and now there is time for art. It is a rainy day in northern California. Prune roses tomorrow. Let's all share.........Helen