Sep 24, 2014

the amazing Susan Lenz

Every once in a while, if we're lucky --- and if we're paying attention --- we come across artists whose work inspires and surprises and delights us in unexpected ways.

I met many wonderfully talented artists in Japan earlier this year and I can't wait to tell you about them in my upcoming book. And here in America, I've been fortunate to come across an artist recently whose body of work is stunning, diverse and oh, so impressive.

I call her the amazing Susan Lenz. She's the real deal!

Take a look at her latest creation - this innovative project, practically years in the making, is on view at a gallery in Columbia, South Carolina. How I wish I could see it in person! I mean, just study this photo for a minute. There are 130 baskets hanging from the ceiling and god knows how many trash bags filled with unwound spools of thread and tangled colossal messes of thread... all artfully strung from the heavens, or so it seems. Who has the patience and vision to do this?

Susan Lena fiber art installation, Threads: Gathering My Thoughts, at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios.
This installation is called: "Threads: Gathering my Thoughts." Follow this link to Susan's blog post about it and lots of other photos.
Susan Lenz, another view of Threads: Gathering My Thoughts
And you really must take a moment to watch this lovely video that a local professional photographer produced for Susan, just to support her as an artist. The photography is so beautiful, and so is the story.

Susan's work is suprising in so many ways, one is by the sheer diversity of the stuff she makes --- call them quilts, textiles, art quilts, whatever your word of choice. She tells poignant stories through her art. My favorite series are the quilts featuring grave rubbings. I love these! And as I've said before, Susan was kind enough to share her technique for making the rubbings with me and I've ventured out a couple times trying to make my own grave rubbings.

This one might be my favorite!

Susan Lenz: The Virgin of GuadalupeGrave Rubbing Art Quilt Series. 21 1/2" x 15". Crayon on fabric rubbing collage with vintage doily, severely light damaged curtain salvaged from an office, and buttons.
She also makes art that is completely tactile, that looks more like textiles strung together something like like lace, but tougher. She calls them "in box" and stained glass windows. To me they are so rich. Something just really intrigues me about these.
Susan Lenz: Window CIII. Inventory # 3147.  Framed:  17 3/4" x 15 3/4"
You might think I am just gushing on at random here, perhaps even promoting a friend. But I have to say that I've never met Susan (although we have shared many emails) and I've only seen a few of her pieces in person. I'm just a fan from afar and I like to call out great work when I see it. And in case you're wondering, Susan has no idea I am writing this. I did ask for permission to post her photos and she said yes.

Her website lists pieces that she sells AND... the long list of exhibitions and installations where her work is currently on view, and where its been shown before.

So these are my thoughts on the amazing Susan Lenz.

I'm thankful that I've had the time and energy to spend getting to know her art.

And I want to give a shout out to Nina Marie for hosting the Off the Wall Friday link up every Friday. That's where I first found Susan's blog... and have met so many other talented individuals. Thanks Nina Marie!

Sep 18, 2014

guest post over at The Caffeinated Quilter

A shared loved of Japanese quilts and fabrics meant that Emily and I were destinted to connect our blogs at some point.

Emily blogs at The Caffeinated Quilter and she dedicates part of her blog to a Japanese Quilting Study Group. When she learned about my upcoming book on Japanese quilts and quilters and my trip to Japan earlier this year, she asked me to write a guest post. It's posted here on her site today.

The guest post shares some information about my book, plus my one-on-one interview with Yoko Saito and other amazing quilters... and also a bit about my own journey making Japanese art quilts.

Thanks Emily for the invite. I'm honored to be a part of your Japanese Quilt Study Group!

And by the way, don't you love this blog name, The Caffeinated Quilter? Thank god for caffeine!

Sep 12, 2014

instead of making art today... a roadtrip to La Grange

So, instead of making art today, my quilt buddy Amy G. and I took a road trip to La Grange, Texas (halfway between Austin and Houston). First stop, of course, the Quilted Skein for some awesome new fabrics.

Amy G. scored a whole collection of these fabulous Marcia Derse fabrics! What's better than that?

Like most small American towns, the county courthouse sits in the middle of the town square. The one in La Grange has been restored beautifully.  La Grange is of course home to the Texas Quilt Museum as well, and they bring a lot of tourists to the area! 

We often say Texas is "like a whole other country." And we have our own language to prove it. Some popular sayings... and ones you'll hear me utter from time to time: "I - magine" (you know, it means "yes, I imagine we could do that"); "tumped over" is a huge favorite of mine, (need I explain, it means something has fallen over, duh!), and another one is "fixin' to" (this means "we are about to do whatever you just asked about.")

Today, in La Grange, we were hit full force with the "fixin' to" favorite. First on this coffee cup: FIXIN .... wait for it... TO

Then this license plate was on the car right near our parking spot. Too good to miss. Had to capture and share. Do you get it - "IFIXII = I fixin' to"  Love it!!!

 Heading back to Houston, we drove right through one of our famous thunderstorms.

All in all, a pretty fantastic day. Shopping for fabric. Great truck-stop hamburger joint. Some sweet entertainment via coffee cups and license plates, and did I mention fabric? The simple things in life! And lots of inspiration for more quilting!

Sep 10, 2014

happy birthday to my blog - one year old today!

Free Clip Art Birthday Cards | ... you are beginning to plan your child’s first birthday and the party

My little blog is one year old today! Hard to believe. I'd love to share some amazing stats and tell you how successful it's been according to the numbers... or be able to sum up how much time I've spent on it. But those numbers are pretty hazy.

What I can tell you is how much fun this adventure has been and how many interesting and wonderful Internet friends I've made. And that is what makes it a big success!

Thanks for taking a small interest in the quilts and other stuff featured here! I treasure your comments and appreciate your page views!

When I started this blog, I of course was an avid reader of blogs and lots of people talked about the online community of friends they've built. I was dubious, but I quickly became one of those people talking about all the new cyber friendships I've made.

What a load of fun this has been. One year has truly flown by.  No stopping this little blog now...

Sep 4, 2014

more gravestone rubbings

Today was overcast and super hot in Houston. Perfect day to explore one of the city's oldest cemeteries for another round of grave rubbings. There was no one there except for me and the landscaping crew.  Here's what I came up with.

This lone bird was part of a trilogy of birds on one stone. So beautiful. I can imagine them lifting up one's spirit and setting it free... happy thoughts rather than the sadness that can be associated with cemeteries.

And here's a few photos from around the cemetery. Such a peaceful place... right in the middle of an urban setting.

I have been a bit of a slacker on the blogger front... but I am hoping the start of September will get me back into the habit. I've been totally distracted working on multiple projects that I haven't had time to sit at the computer.

I am determined to finish my work in progress Celtic Cross next... and I am hoping one of these grave rubbings will work well in the center of the cross. Stay tuned.

As I said in the last post about these rubbings.... I owe a huge debt to Susan Lenz for sharing her technique with me.

On Friday, I'm linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Fridays.