Saturday, July 30, 2011

Challenge Piece

My PTA group is doing a challenge for an upcoming exhibit. I'm not always enthused to do challenges but this one I'm loving. It's based on the idea of creating a piece inspired by a 2-dimensional artist - one we admire, one who's work has inspired us. It's been great fun seeing the different works in progress and the various artists represented. I chose an American artist, not one I was familiar with but whose work I've seen time and time again and have been drawn to. He uses lots of florals as his subject matter.
soft colors
Interesting leaves and lots of them.
Lots of swirls and "Curly-Qs".
In looking at my own work, I realized I've been doing a similar style all this time, especially the "Curly-Qs" - on everything from quilts to clothing.
So he has become my artist of choice.
Oh, and hummingbirds appear a lot in his work which I intend to put in mine also.
Can you guess who it is?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I would love to open with "It was a dark and stormy night" but really it was just a welcomed rain storm, a very heavy, long rainstorm followed by lots of fog and then the sunset! Wow, talk about nature showing her colors.

But then, just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I looked outside and saw this.
I've seen lots of rainbows but this was by far the best ever!

And it stayed around for quite a while - around 30 minutes.
Everything looked so green and happy.

And as if this wonderful rainbow wasn't enough, along came a double rainbow.
My mother in law Hilda loved rainbows, always felt it was a sign that her hubby John was looking down on her saying hi.
A double...well must be both of them are looking down on us. After such a crazy 2 weeks, this was a welcomed, peaceful, beautiful and unexpected moment, one which makes you stop and be thankful for the beauty in this world.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Southern Highland Craft Fair

There are still 2 days left to visit the wonderful Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands held at the Asheville Civic Center in downtown Asheville. The concourse level is around the perimeter of the civic center and houses wonderful booths filled with pottery, fiber, gorgeous jewelry, hand made brooms, dolls and much more.
Come visit me at booth # 21 on the main level, would love to see you!
The arena - downstairs fills the entire center of the civic center with lots of booths, live music and interesting demos. It's a wonderful, fun-filled and also educational day.
There are demonstrations going on outside the building as you enter.
It's been great fun meeting lots of nice people and being in downtown Asheville every day amidst all the hustle bustle, so I hope to see you at the fair.

Monday, July 18, 2011

AQS Knoxville Show - We Did It!!!!

I know I've talked about my PTA group many times -  a great group of very talented, sharing and fun-loving ladies. Every year we enter the challenge through the American Quilter's Society show in Knoxville and every year we go and every year we don't win.....EXCEPT.... for this year. Our PTA group took a third place with their challenge pieces depicting Sunrise/sunset. For this challenge AQS sets size specifications but the rest of the challenge is up to the individual group. Our group decided on the theme of Sunrise/sunset and the use of black fabric somewhere in the piece. Each group has their own row which gives the viewer a good sense of what the challenge is about. Our row looked great! - so on with the show. Kate Weston designed this wonderful piece - "Sunset Cruise".
Dort Lee created "Morning Milking" with some beautiful shadowing to capture the feel of early morning.
Janice Maddox created this colorful quilt - "Here Comes the Sun".
Lynne Harrill did "Jocassee Sunrise", what a wonderful effect of the sun shimmering on the water.
Mary Berry did this wonderful piece - "Conundrum - Sunrise/sunset".
Mary Stori created "Pine Ridge at Dawn". I love the patchwork backdrop.
Barbara Swinea created this lovely piece - "Sunrise Silhouette".
Linda Cantrell created this very colorful piece -"Under African Skies". Linda taught in Africa awhile back and perhaps was influenced by their beautiful skies.

Congratulations PTA -ers - you did a fantastic job!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


We love the Grovepark Inn in Asheville, NC and often go there for special occasions. Last night we went there for dinner and they were celebrating their 98th anniversary. 
The huge fireplaces were filled with plants and baloons...

And as luck would have it, we were there for our anniversary which is today. I can't believe we took the walk down the aisle 40 years ago. Sometimes it seems like an eternity and sometimes it seems like yesterday.
Time has flown since then til now.
And the journey has been fun and wonderful!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Gallery Walk

To continue our wonderful day at Biltmore Industries, we were treated to another tour of the building which houses the history of Biltmore Industries. Jerry's wife, as knowledgeable as Jerry gave us a tour, a quick history lesson and an interesting video to watch.
This room held many of the "homespun" textiles created during that time period. They were given that name because they were spun at home which I still hear today.
This beautiful jacket was made from hand woven fabric.
Being a clothing person who loves wool, I was totally taken with these wonderful samples of cloth made during the different time periods - this one the 1940s.

It was then onto the studios....Twice a year, the artists at Grovewood, open their studios to the public. It's wonderful to see their space and the amazing tools they work with.
The Portfolio Metal Works studio houses beautiful jewelry. All the artists were in their studio - such great fun to meet them.
Daniel Essig makes wooden and sculptural books - that description doesn't do it justice. I first met Daniel when I lived in Atlanta. My friends and I loved to attend the American Craft Council Show every year. Daniel was always there and quickly became our very "favorite" artist and always the first person we went to see.
Little did I realize that someday I would be living in the same town as Daniel and could see his work all the time! His work is displayed like you see below - each one on a pedestal. You could pour over each one for hours noticing the wonderful detail that goes into each piece.
They are truly magnificent!

And these beautiful wall sculptures.
If you're ever in Asheville, take a day to visit this part of town and the Grovewood Gallery which features the work of so many wonderful artists in this area.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Biltmore Industries

This past weekend my fiber group - LINT (Ladies in New Textiles) had the wonderful opportunity to visit the "behind the scenes" of the once very lucrative and well known Biltmore Industries. It is no longer in existence and being able to see the factory rooms and equipment not is use anymore was both eery and exciting. Under the direction and great expertise of Jerry, we were given a guided tour and lots of great stories and information - probably more than our brains could absorb.

We first entered some of these amazing buildings through a back, un-used entrance.
What started out as a cottage industry soon grew to enormous proportions. In the early 1900s, two ladies, Ms. Vance and Ms. Yale - graduates of a missionary college in NY, found their way to Asheville. They decided the youth needed something to keep themselves busy after school. They started a program to teach these young men woodcarving and the women - spinning for the purposes of weaving cloth.
And as many times as I've walked through this door, I've never looked above - it's the Eleanor Vance Building and also known as the popular Grovewood Gallery. The little woodcarvings are some of the things the young men carved years ago.
The unusual roofs were amazing to see and the pictures will probably find their way to a quilt someday.
The first building we entered was also a storage for the building outdoor sculptures featured on the grounds. This building was where yarns were dyed and washed to be used for spinning and weaving.
Susan stood next to one of the vats to give perspective to the size.
And such great antique washing machines, made to handle very large quantities.
And the little white room at the top for the "head guy" to oversee production.
I love all the old walls and peeling paint.
A room kept locked which housed precious formulas, dyes and other auxiliaries used in the process.
and many large looms....

I was fascinated by this very old antique sewing machine.
This room was very depressing but it actually was just used to house the rovings before processing them into yarn.
And the big weaving room with plenty of windows and natural daylight, a plus for keeping workers happy.

Lots and lots of these bags all holding the spindles used in the weaving process.
We were all given one as a little gift to remind us of this wonderful and informative day.