Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Day at the Huntington

The Huntington Botanical Gardens were in bloom with summer energy.  The temperature was pleasant, happily without the usual summer heat .  We enjoyed the serenity of the Japanese garden watching swimming koi.  Amazing patterns created by nature....

Four koi swimming

The Chinese garden area also encouraged a contemplative mood, with its expansive lake and pavilions.  It is my favorite section, though some days it is hard to choose.  

Lotus garden

Lion dog statue
Lion Dog statue at Chinese Garden entrance

Lion dog decorative detailed back
Lion Dog details

Art was on offer in the galleries, too.  Currently showing at the Boone Gallery is an exquisite botanical drawing and print exhibition, "When They Were Wild: Recapturing California's Wildflower Heritage".  This is a collaborative project of the Huntington; Rancho Santa Anita Botanic Garden; and the Theodore Payne Foundation, including over 300 objects from the  archives of these foundations.  Prints that particularly caught my attention were those by Henry Evans, a prolific botanical illustrator and printmaker.    His work is refined, delicate and stunning.  Most impressive, and worth further research.  The exhibit has been extended until July 8.  

Ah!  What an inspiring day enjoying the company of friends, beauty of the gardens and the joy of art.  I am always revitalized by visits here.

"Making the print is a very selective process, a conscious effort to show the beauty and elegance of plant forms as an expression of my admiration for the wonders of life on this planet."
- Henry Evans, an excerpt from the artist's notebooks.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Pacifying Passion

  Pacifying Passion quilt in reds
Pacifying Passion © 2013 Linda A. Miller

"There is no art without contemplation."
-Robert Henri

This work is a reflection on the calming the hot emotional qualities of  red.  Soothing with horizontal linear design elements.  The process began by free motion stitching on a color gradated wholecloth top with wool felt batting.  The quilted top was rinsed in hot water and hung to dry.  I decided to only use a hand wash method to keep the accumulation of wool fuzz to a minimum...there is always a migration of fuzz to the top that requires removal after machine washing/dryer processing.  This produced an appealing effect with a subtle degree of shrinkage and texture.

From that point, I appliqued on undulating layers in a mix of prints.  The sun is also appliqued.  Yarns were machine couched to follow the lines of movement.  Some oil stick embellishment was added to heighten detail, with finishing touches of hand embroidery.

  Pacifying Passion embroidery couching details

Though "Pacifying Passion" did not get accepted into the exhibit it was intended for, the act of aiming for the show inspired my motivation to complete it.  Sometimes an external goal can help create work that might not have been done otherwise.  Have you found this to be true for you?  I am sure this quilt will find an exhibition/home in the future. 

Linking to Off the Wall Fridays.  See what others are creating over there....

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tentmakers of Cairo

 Jenny Bowker, Sheila Frampton-Cooper, Hosam EL Farouk - Paducah 2013
Photo by Kim Beamish

At the May 18th SAQA meeting, Sheila Frampton-Cooper generously shared  several quilts with us from her collection made by the Tentmakers of Cairo.  The Tentmakers' work is brightly colored needle turned appliqué traditionally used to line tents or screens, and it is usually men who make it.  The workmanship is exquisite.  Colors and patterns are awesome.

There has been a lot of buzz recently about the Tentmakers.  Australian artist Jenny Bowker learned about them while living in the middle east.  Since 2007, she has been working with the Tentmakers to help revitalize this dying art.   The American Quilter’s Society (AQS) has become the exclusive U.S. representative for sales of the works of all 18 shops known as The Tentmakers of Cairo.  A feature documentary is being made by Australian filmmaker, Kim Beamish.  Here is a teaser.  For more information please go to the Tentmaker Website.

Monday, May 20, 2013

SAQA Meeting Demo

We had a lively regional SAQA meeting on May 18th, hosted by our terrific Reps, Deborah Stanley and Teresa Shippy.  I was among several artists asked to give a demo.  It indeed felt like a picnic atmosphere as members visited demo tables over the course of the day to learn more from each artist.  Linda Friedman demonstrated polymer clay stamps; Sherry Kleinman showed drawing techniques using water soluble pencils and crayons; Mary Beth Kile talked about her colorful egg pincushions.  Sherry and Kathy Nida also were on hand to sign copies of the Martha Sielman's fabulous book "People and Portraits", in which they are featured artists.

Linda A Miller talking about creative process
Photo by Deborah Stanley

meeting demo table discussion
Photo by Deborah Stanley

The subject of my demonstration was the use of shrinkage, with wool felt as batting, to enhance surface texture.  For several years I have been exploring this technique of washing/drying quilted fabric for my landscapes.  The resulting shrinkage produces an earthy three dimensional surface, which is heightened by the use of oil sticks, paint, embroidery and/or couching.  Since washing and drying on site were obviously not feasible, I provided samples showing stages.  This seemed to convey the process effectively.  Below are some examples of what was shown on Saturday.  And, visit my 2011 blog post  for related information.

Cotton with felt backing, quilted, not washed
Cotton with felt backing, quilted, not washed

orange purple quilted cotton with felt backing
Cotton with felt backing, quilted, washed, oil sticks added

detail multicolored quilt with applique, couching, embroidery
Detail: washed quilt appliqued, embellished with oil sticks, couching, embroidery

turquoise quilt detail with applique, embroidery
Detail: work in process with applique, embroidery, couching, oil sticks

Detail of Striated quilt in aqua tans orangewith couching, embroidery
Detail: Striated with couching and embroidery

Fluid Fissure 3 quilt in reds, yellows, turquoise line, with embroidery
Fluid Fissure 3 © 2012 Linda A. Miller  
Cotton-hand dye, silk, paint, oil sticks, applique, machine quilted, hand embroidered

The day proved to be an opportunity for many engaging conversations.  See more on the SAQA SoCal Blog.  Thank you to everyone for great questions!  Inspired by all that came my way, I trust that what I shared gave food for creative thought in return.  I am looking forward to doing a similar demo at the SAQA booth during the International Quilt Festival in Long Beach in August!

Realizing I have not documented this technique in real depth, stay tuned for future posts about more on the process.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


I was recently invited to join galleribba, an online gallery for small and unique artwork by international artists.  All art will fit standard size frames, some pieces are ready to hang. Works are either framed, attached to canvas or have a hanging sleeve on the back.  This gallery was created and is run by Dutch mixed media artist, Meta Heemskerk.  Galleribba currently has 40 members, with new artists joining on a regular basis.

I now invite you to have a look around the gallery.  You can find each artist’s contact information at the bottom of the gallery pages.

Have fun browsing our beautiful gallery!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Art and Tea, Part 2

 What a delightful afternoon for my first Artist Showcase & Afternoon Tea on May 5th.  My sister, Karen McClune, graciously hosted this event in her home in the San Diego area, with about a dozen attending.  I made new friends and talked with old friends among a diverse group of remarkable women.  There were great conversations, new ideas and  intriguing questions.  It is wonderful to share about the creative journey.  The experience provided an opportunity for me to view my own work in a fresh way through another person's eyes.  Possibilities are born that were previously not seen.  It is gratifying to show the work and have it spark such interest. I can say it was fun day of art, food and discussion for all of us.

Here is how the day went...  with turning the living room into an art showcase.

Bhavana Project flags and fabric balls...
Displaying smaller items...

Thread bowls and cards

Mini quilt basket

Let us not forget the food.  Karen loves to bake, so we were treated to some of  her amazing creations... Friends also contributed home baked items and glorious flowers.

Karen's delicious scones!

Tea is served.

Talking about quilts and process...

Explaining options for hanging quilts...

Some of the goodies enjoyed.

Winding down...

I am so grateful for Karen's support, for the day would not have happened without her.  She is a warm hearted and generous hostess.  I am blessed with such a sister.  The day exceeded my expectations and surpassed my goals.  Learned much in preparing for future events, including how to better organize. A very good start, I would say.

My energy has been renewed.  Now catching up and unpacking.  Grateful to have the systems to organize my inventory, mailing list and more.  Thanks to the Art Marketing Bootcamp!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Art and Tea

Thread Bowls © 2013 Linda A. Miller

A full week with final preparations for the artist showcase and tea event this Sunday, May 5th.  This idea grew out of the recent marketing workshop while reflecting on appropriate venues for my artwork.  In my eyes, smaller intimate gatherings in homes, for meeting new people and sharing, seems to suit the contemplative feel of my art work.  I am excited to see what develops!  Quilts, bowls, balls and cards are ready.  May it be a viable avenue for new discoveries.  Stay tuned, I will share it with you next week...

Fabric Balls

Considering the viability issue as an artist, here are some thoughts about the realities from others:  Ariane Mariane , Constance Rose   These links are well worth following and reading.

I am linking to Off the Wall Friday.  See what the others are up to.



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