Monday, February 08, 2010

Fiber Art Weekend

I escaped for two nights and a full day to meet up with three longtime friends, members of the original art quilt group that I joined when I moved to Austin twelve years ago. Our children were young then, our time was more free, and we met weekly to play with whatever medium caught our eye. Now we're strung across the country and meeting together is a rare treat.

Judy Coates Perez, well known for her whole cloth painted quilts and smaller fiber art projects, made the pilgrimage back to Texas to teach a couple of workshops and give a lecture on quilts and creativity for the Dallas quilt guild. Luckily that's where Julie John Upshaw (bottom photo) lives, so she arranged a suite with working room for us to hang out. With prizes from Quilt National, museum solo exhibitions under her belt, and work in the Walsh collection, she's the most accomplished of the old gang. Frances Holiday Alford, of over-the-top embellished quilt fame, managed to detour through Dallas for one short night because of weather delaying her flight on her final move from Austin back to Vermont.

Between eating well and catching up on life and eating some more chocolate, Judy was kind enough to give us a mini-workshop of her embossed and stitched metal ornaments, like this one she gifted me one year for my birthday. Notice how her ornament has precise machine stitching to attach the metal to the ornament and finish the edge so fancily.

Alas, our hotel suite didn't have a sewing machine, so I sacrificed my fingers to blanket stitch though aluminum. The results were so fun that it was worth it. It's definitely a Judy ornament with a Vickie twist -- both birds, but with our different aesthetics clearly visible. Can you imagine Judy's holiday tree loaded with these treasures?? You can peruse a collection of ornaments as well as other mixed media on Picasa here and her art quilts here. We sat and stitched and chatted like old times...

If you have an opportunity to take Judy's ornament workshop, her mixed media painting workshop, or her online color class, DO IT! She's a fabulous teacher, well prepared and encouraging.