Apr 24, 2016

spring sewing: a six-pack of finishes

A dog, a homespun quilt and a big red chicken... somehow seems appropriate.
Its been a prolific spring for sewing. I've bounced between my consulting jobs, quilt guild lectures, writing my second book, and sewing and quilting. Lots of sewing and quilting!
Still working on this one. Pieced using scrap prints from my collection.

I'm a brutal multi-tasker and I self impose deadlines. All of these things pictured in this post were things I convinced myself HAD to be done. So I just got after it and went to work. 

Fabric buckets.
 Here's my six-pack (+ some) of finishes from the last six weeks.
  • 3 large, custom-quilted professional tote bags. Both of the bags shown here have been delivered to the retail shop and already sold - practically the same day they were delivered! Cool! (The 3rd is a gift, so its a secret for now.)
  • 1 finished quilt using homespun scraps from my collection.
  • Pieced and basted 1 quilt using scrap prints from my collection.
  • Made 2 small fabric buckets to put stuff in. 
  • I also rescued one antique quilt and disassembled it. More on that in a later post.
  • Cleaned my closet. Boring, I know, but so needed. (Thank you to my quilt buddy Amy G. for the motivation to get this done!)
  • And started an improv art quilt. 
The 2 scrap quilts are part of my ongoing effort to use up my stash! I have too much fabric. And I want to use it up to make quilts to give to other people. Here are 2 homespun quilts I made and gave away last year.

Also took a day off and went to the famous antique festival in Round Top, Texas. Came home with this fabulous red, vintage clock for my studio. Totally matches the red shelf vibe!

The latest art quilt is still hanging on the design wall... waiting for me. The art quilt side of the brain was temporarily set aside. I think I needed the break. Sometimes its good just to be productive and to sew... while I reserved my brain for the harder task of writing my book. Sewing things like the stuff in this post are actually a way of relaxing, believe it or not. I can think about my writing and the direction of my book while I'm pinning, stitching, cutting and designing simple quilts and tote bags.

Now I feel that I can check these things off the list and get back to making something less utilitarian and something more artsy. Kind of like a mental vacation, and now I'm back.

Apr 23, 2016

a match made in Japan

Love these colors together! My favorite chair and vintage Japanese Yukata cotton: A match made in Japan!

Just got a new shipment of Yukata (summer kimono) from Okan Arts shop in Seattle. I'm supposed to be selling this lovely fabric, not buying it. So hard to resist. Every room can use one more quilt, right? My favorite chair might just get a new quilt of its own with this stunning hand-dyed fabric.

I'll be packing up 200+ yards of Yukata for three back-to-back quilt guild lectures: May 3 at Tri-County QG; May 4 at Woodlands Area QG; and May 5 at QG of Dallas.

Apr 8, 2016

one epic storm, one small tote bag and a poignant reminder of why we sew

Houston is about to mark the first anniversary of an epic and deadly storm. This fast moving storm began west of Austin and San Antonio during the Memorial Day weekend last year... and as it tore through the small town of Wimberley, it tragically claimed 12 lives. Then it hit Houston, a city notoriously flat and prone to flash floods.

Houston's main waterways (we call them bayous) rose more than 50 feet out of their banks!

Eight people died in Houston that night. And more than 1,000 homes were completely flooded... ruining everything inside them. And inside every one of those homes, there is a story of loss, and also recovery. The story of one woman, whom I have never met, impacted me deeply.

This woman was a needelpointer. And as it happens, she had purchased one of my custom quilted tote bags that I make and sell through a local needlepoint shop. This is a micro-business for me, I only make one tote bag or so a month, so my output is very small, to say the least. These bags are custom designed to hold a needlepoint canvas (which is nailed to a wood frame) and supplies.

Two months after the storm, I got an email from a woman who wanted to know if I was the one who made these bags. She was part of a needlepoint community stitching group, and one of their members lived in one of those flooded homes.

The storm victim shared with the group that she was sad about everything they lost, but she was especially sad about losing her needlepoint materials and her tote bag!

The stitching group wanted to purchase another tote bag for her as a gift, and they wanted to know if I would make it. So the store owner and I quickly agreed!

What are the chances that in a city of some 6 million people, one of the victims of one of Houston's notorious floods would have included one of the two dozen or so tote bags I made?

And more importantly, what are the chances that this person would treasure that bag enough to mention it to her stitching friends?

That moment brought tears to my eyes. It stands as a powerful reminder - this is why I create! Handmade things are rare. And those things we make that bring us joy and peace - whether its quilting, needlepoint, sewing, knitting, whatever - and the time we spend making things is priceless. To lose them is to lose a part of ourselves.

So I recreated that tote bag. The stitching group was happy and the flood victim got one small part of her former life back... a bit of normalcy for her. And I was truly grateful to be a part of it.

Just for fun, here's a photo of a tote bag I just finished this week.

And a few favorites from the past 2 years. One for me, one to sell. Repeat.

Apr 7, 2016

featured in "Art Quilt Collector" magazine

I'm pretty thrilled to share some news! I was interviewed for the latest edition of Art Quilt Collector about my new book.

Art Quilt Collector is an interesting new magazine all about the business and art of collecting. Its produced by SAQA, the Studio Art Quilters Association. Copies and subscriptions are available on the SAQA website.

Apr 3, 2016

Lovin' Lincoln - A Japan and Texas meet up

For decades, I slaved away working for others. Nothing there truly made me jump for joy. Today, I am totally jumping for joy! I was invited to present a lecture, sign books AND share the ticket with Shizuko Kuroha at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum, in Lincoln!

Setting up for my lecture at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska. April 1, 2016
Gift Shop - view from above.
Here's an aerial view of the books set up for the book signing - both mine and 2 books by Shizuko Kuroha. When I arrived - and saw my book set up there - I was trying to act all professional... when I'd rather run around and have a Steve Martin moment  .... "I'm somebody. My name is in the phone book..."
Marin Hanson, Curator of Exhibitions, introduced my lecture.
The amazing Shizuko Kuroha, was the featured speaker. Her solo exhibition - "Blue Echoes" - is on view now. 

I'm so proud to be on the same ticket as Kuroha san... but it's also special to share this moment with her because I've had two interview/studio visits with her during my past two trips to Japan. She will be featured in my second book --- which I am working on now! It was so cool to see my new friend here in Lincoln!
Shizuko Kuroha and Teresa Duryea Wong. International Quilt Study Center & Museum. 2016.

Shizuko Kuroha, "Poetry in Indigo III" Antique cotton. Hand quilted. 1988. IQSCM's April 2016 Quilt of the Month.
I also brought my Japanese-inspired quilts to show during my lecture. Can you imagine the intimidation of bringing your own quilts to a quilt museum? Geez... these don't really belong here... but I think of them as bringing a bit of the 'common woman' quilts to mecca. A dose of the real world. And unlike the extraordinary quilts in the galleries, you can touch my quilts, and photograph them.

Last but not at all least, I had some very special family and friends attend!

My Aunt - Polly Duryea, PhD - retired Peru State College (Nebraska) faculty, and Katy Ramos, my cousin. Polly was one of the "readers" for my first book and she has had a big influence on my life.

Long time family friends Jack Cooper and his sister Virginia (on left) and a friend.
My cousin Cathy Duryea (right) and her mom, Mary Rose.
All in all, I have to say, that was a pretty great day!