Monday, August 16, 2010


That's the title I've chosen for the quilt I made -- just this morning, in a frenzy of inspiration. I've been in a slump for the past 4-5 months, don;'t know why, and I got out of it the day of a big storm last week when the electricity was knocked out for over a day. I sat by the light from a window and made a small quilt by hand, something I haven't done for a couple of years. And when the electricity came back on, I had the sewing machine going with my other idea, which is this quilt, and may start a series.
Exuberance is made from sewing small triangles all over an ugly piece of fabric that I knew I was never going to use. Many of the triangles are left over pieces of Flying Geese that went into a humongous quilt I made for the bed -- something I'll never do again. Too big, too much sewing. I had no idea I had so many Flying Geese triangles left over... and still more. I think I put them to good use, and I love how it came out.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Grandma's Flower Garden

Last year, I saw in various shops flowers, which my grandma used to have in her garden in front of the farmhouse, they lived in. They are called 'Phlox' (Phlox paniculata Hybr.) and 'Bartnelke' (Dianthus barbatus). Every time,I came across them, it reminded me of her. She also had roses and of course other flowers.

We lived near and visited them often. She was a very kind and loving women. My father was the oldest of six, and I was for six years the only grandchild. - Don't ask about beeing spoiled! I was 11, when she died with 64.

As I was thinking of her more often, a moment came to my mind. We were together in the garden and she guided me to a rose and said: 'This rose is called 'Gloria Dei' and I planted it after you were born.' This touched me deeply! In fact, me being born healthy and sane is reason to be thankful, because my mother went ill with polio in her 8th week of pregnancy.

For this quilt I did effects on a picture of a Gloria Dei rose and put my Grandma on it, then printed it on cotton and fixed it with fast-to-fuse. The flowers are hand-sewn with roses printed on cotton. The purple piece on the left is a hand-dyed tumbler-sheet painted with gold. The yellow and green cotton is hand-dyed.

Reminiscence Bump

When the word for this challenge was announced, I googled and found a wikipedia entry for 'Reminiscence Bump' - the time period in which autobiographical memory is most vivid. (From adolescence to young adulthood.)

I loved the term and immediately thought of rows of stitching around 'bumps' representing bubbles of memory. My original plan was to fill the bumps with shiny beads and charms but the effect was simply too busy. Once everything but the pearl necklace was removed, the design could come through.

The fabric was purchased at the Britex remnant sale (an experience in itself!) for another project. The fabric content was missing from the wrapper, but it feels and sews like taffetta. After auditioning several different metallic threads, I settled on a gold rayon.

The quilting design was intended to be evenly spaced rows. As I sewed, I realized memory is not like that. Not always well ordered, available and reliable. The rows began to wiggle a bit - cross over one another. Finally, the binding is top-stitched with the same rayon metallic thread wobbling and uneven. We may attempt to frame our memories neatly, but they are as we are - imperfect. Delightful, fabulous and intriguing, but imperfect.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Reminiscence: The Weeping Mulberry

The new challenge word popped me right to this spot in my memory. As a little kid, we lived in a neighborhood where there weren't any kids my age, so I spent a lot of time on my own, mostly reading. One of my favorite places was under our mulberry bush, especially in the spring, as the berries slowly began to ripen. It was almost like my own little house outside, where I'd read or daydream.

As I thought about how to show you that, I sat down cross-legged on the floor (not an easy thing at my age!) and held a sketchbook, and asked my hubby to take a photo of me. That was the only way I could figure out how the legs & feet would look. In fact, the shoes are my red Keens that I wear most of the summer.

When I was a little kid, I had wild and wooly reddish hair (now I have w & w gray hair). My mom never knew quite what to do with all of it, so she mostly pulled it into braids or just two large puffballs.

I read up on mulberry bushes or trees, and was reminded that they have a deeply grooved bark, so that little piece of fabric I found in my stash seemed perfect for the job.

I experimented with several ways to show the weeping branches, maybe to indicate some ripe berries, and finally settled on this batik which has a variety of yellows, greens, and purples on it. I cut little strips with an "organic" edge and sewed them into the top of the piece, but just let them hang loosely from that....hoping they'd show a bit of shadow in the photo, to suggest the feeling of being "hidden" by the mulberry bush, in my own private place.

"Family Stories"-Jan Girod-Reminiscence

Family stories, listening to the elders of our families tell the tales about their ancestors, we aren't always sure if they are accurate or a "tall tale". I became the caretaker of those reminiscences and the treasures of their lives, for both my husbands and my own families several years ago.

After moving to Georgia 30 years ago I made the trek each summer to Minnesota with my two children so that they would know their great-grandparents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. This was an important part of my childhood and I wanted my children to have those memories. Breakfasts with my husbands grandfather became a highlight of those trips. He was a natural born story teller, his life was full and long. His stories about his father's family were wonderful, entertaining and a bit farfetched at times, but nonetheless his family "stories".

In more recent years my daughter expressed disbielf that she would not be included in her paternal family tree as it only reflected "male" names back to 1491. I innocently began my search for those womens names, facts and stories, very slowly learning a few names. Some of her great-grandfathers stories we have been able to establish as true, we have gained additional stories from distant family members and others may only be best equated to "big fish tales", but they are still part of our family stories.

This piece was made by printing old Swiss documents and photographs onto TAP (Transfer Artist Paper) and transferring them to a batik and copper metal. I could not quickly find a map of Switzerland (sorry Heidi) so I used an old map of France, coated it with Golden Matte Medium, giving it a bit more strength. Then I dug around till I found vintage laces, tatting and watch parts as many Girod's were watchmakers.

Reminiscence Challenge -- The Old White Pontiac

When we got the challenge, I started thinking back to my childhood. Ledra (pronounced Lee-drah, rhymes with Lisa, Lee-sah), is my twin sister and is in every memory I have from childhood, so I started looking through my dad's album of our baby pictures. I found this picture of the two of us hanging out the window of our old white Pontiac. We are probably about two and a half. The old white Pontiac is actually a 1959 Pontiac Catalina Four Door Sedan and my parents brought us home from the hospital in her. The family took many trips in her, fitting copious amounts of paraphernalia in the trunk, until she was sold in the late 60's.

From that picture, I started "reminiscing" about all the things that happened in that old car. There is the time, when we stopped along the route to Grandma Blume's house to find a bathroom. Daddy got out of the car and went in to ask if they had one (yes, you youngsters out there, bathrooms weren't in all gas stations way back when). Ledra got out of the car and went to find one herself. Since Daddy didn't realize it, he got back in the car and drove off down the road. It wasn't until he was a couple blocks away and looked in the rearview mirror and saw Ledra running down the road after the car that he realized she wasn't in it!

At first I tried enlarging the picture and making a portrait like my first challenge. Since the original picture is very small, I couldn't get it large enough and retain enough clearness to use my regular technique (although, I still haven't given up on that idea…I just have to figure out how to do it!) I wasted about a month with that route. Then one morning, I woke up to a blog from our own Lynn Krawczyk advertising her new thermofax screen business. That was just what I needed. So I sent a scan of the picture and she sent me a screen (thank you, Lynn!). I also wanted a map in the background so I sent off to Spoonflower a digital map to print on fabric for the background. By the time I got it here, it was just this past Monday, but everything came together quickly after that. I screened the image, printed out the list of memories, fused it on the background, stamped the name of the quilt, quilted it, faced it, beaded it, and melted crayons on it! Materials: Self designed 100% cotton fabric, acrylic screen paint, ink, crayons (melted, of course!)

What a wonderful time I had reliving those old memories. My 86 year old dad got a kick out of it and laughed at the memories, too.

the big orange chair

the big orange chair by Lynn Krawczyk

I am a child of the seventies. Orange, gold, green and brown - this color combo makes a lot of people cringe but me? I love love love them.

My mother decorated the house we lived in when I was small in this color scheme. Including the little t.v. room where I watched Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and Sesame Street. What I remember clearest is the big orange chair that I would sit in, nap in, read in.

It was orange velvet, custom made to fit the space and followed us to the next house when we moved. The walls of my little t.v. room were painted gold and mom put up hanging plants with macrame plant holders suspending them from the ceiling.

I tried to incorporate all these things in this piece. I used thermofax screens to scuff print the background fabrics and then assembled them in my collage style. I then used a thermofax screen for the chair and printed the darker orange outline. I painted in the middle sections with two other shades of orange with paint that had low opacity so that the background fabric would show through.

I find my love of these colors creeping into much of my life even now. I just painted the lower half of my bedroom walls a pumpkin orange and the top half a linen color. I wear a lot of earth tone colors including olive green and brown.

These colors will always be home to me. Me and the big orange chair.

Reminiscing with Paul

I'm an early Beatles fan who was lucky enough to see them in person at their first San Francisco show at the Cow Palace. I saw Ringo a few years ago at a performance in Sonoma County and was recently able to enjoy Paul's concert in San Francisco. Wow!
My first inclination was to title this piece "Still Missing the Beatles" but I know their music lives on for my enjoyment. Paul's tributes to George and John evoked a lot of emotion from the audience, myself included.

I took over one hundred photos at the McCartney concert, some of which are on this piece. I collaged them with my computer photo program, a simple technique, but exactly what I wanted.
My idea was to get the flavor of the sixties with the sky blue and avocado green hand-dyes fused to the batting.
I used Bubble Jet Set on Pima cotton then ironed it to freezer paper to put through my inkjet printer. I then fused the photo fabric onto Wonder Under and ironed directly on the batting. This reminiscence challenge leaves me with a really memorable wall hanging.

August 1, believe it or not

Happy August. Where or where did the time go?
My memories include one of my first art quilts which now resides with a good friend.
It was a branch similar to this done in very branch colors, very carefully but was fused and quilted very lightly.
For reminiscense I wanted to do a similar piece the way I would present it now.  I almost did it! I am taking painting lessons and learning so much about the structure of paintings. So next time, I will have a reference photo and really consider the light source more carefully. This piece evolved and so not all that was possible. Only because I do not usually do that reverse sewing thing!
What is new is the attempt to create shadows and a source of light.
What is new from the older work is the use of color. Bright can be good.
These painting lessons are taking time from my textile work, but that is where I am at at present and just a part of the whole evolving quest.
Please do visit my blog and feel free to comment.
Please also comment on your journeys and the detours you have taken.
And thank you........


My first thoughts when I heard the new word were to create a crazy quilt using old photos but I had just finished a cloth book with pictures of my parents in their youth and...been there, done that. So my mind went to the Victorian era anyway and I decided to play with fabric paper and try for a Victorian look. I started by collaging tissue paper with thicker hand made papers from Thailand. These had leaves and flowers embedded in them. When the glue had dried and the papers were thoroughly attached to the muslin, I tore ragged edges, layered batting and backing just inside the edges and did some free motion quilting in leafy patterns.
I used my rubber stamps and printed postal marks and writing randomly across the surface. Then I played with old buttons, ribbon and tea stained rick-rack. The whole thing felt like play time to me.
Buttons, rick-rack and ribbon were sewn on by hand.
You can see the rubber stamps as writing and postmarks and a little of the floral quilting.