Nov 5, 2013

art quilting in Lake Tahoe

Ten months ago I signed up for an art quilt workshop in Lake Tahoe - and now I'm finally here.

Here's a picture taken just after sunrise... a beautiful, cold clear day.  The view is just stunning.

But here's the real reason I am here.

Every once in a while I see a quilt that is truly unforgettable. This is one of those quilts.

It's called "Maynard" and the artist is David Taylor. I first saw Maynard at the Houston International Quilt Festival about five years ago and it stopped me in my tracks. This quilt is seven feet tall and you cannot fully appreciate it from photographs --- but all that white snow is incredibly rich in color. And of course the other unforgettable detail is the dog's position - his butt to the viewer.

The dog reminds me a bit of the opening sequence in Downton Abbey... if you'll recall, there is a shot of the dog approaching the house ... with the camera following along behind his rear end. Same view, similar dog, minus the snow and fence. But I digress...

When I saw this quilt I had to learn more. The following year my quilt buddy Amy G. and I signed up for David's class at the Houston Quilt Fest. It was a great opportunity to learn from David, but the class was so short that we didn't really have the time to learn this technique of depicting images so artfully into textiles in just one day.

Eventually, I saw that David was teaching a four-day class at Art Quilt Tahoe, and here I am.

There are about 100 quilters gathered here this week to study with about a dozen artists... all of whom are working in very different styles.  Having four whole days to study with one artist really allows you the time to learn their technique in-depth.

David Taylor's work is best described as vividly realistic appliqué - mostly of birds or animals.  We're learning to make our own pattern working from a photo as a model.  This is not to say we are copying photos printed on fabric - that would be way too easy and would have a totally different look. This technique uses a photo as a model, much the way a painter would paint a portrait from a person or photo. These art quilts truly mimic paintings, but the color is achieved through mixing and layering textiles instead of paint.

Each work of art will have hundreds of individual pieces of fabric when we're done. Each piece will be hand appliquéd and eventually, I will add thread painting, hand embroidery and then machine quilt mine.

If you have not seen David's work, go to his website:

His art quilts are amazing, plus he is a lot of fun to spend time with.

I'll be posting more on the piece I am making as I get farther along... right now it is a bit of a mess.

More to come from South Lake Tahoe! Here is a picture of the dining hall and some of the amazing quilts lining the room.


  1. I would love to take a class at Art Tahoe with David Taylor--here's hoping he's still teaching there in a couple of years when I can go! Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Shair: David teaches all over - and lots of his classes are in great locations. They are listed on his website. He is not teaching next year at Tahoe, but they have listed the 2014 teachers on art quilt tahoe site. Thanks for commenting.

  2. what a treat --- and perfectly time after the wonderful chaos that is quilt market... it was grand meeting you there -- ENJOY!

    1. Thanks Rose. Great meeting you... and yes, what's better than a week in Tahoe quilting!