We arrived in Dublin this afternoon and successfully navigated to our hotel in the downtown Temple Bar district

Beautiful primary colors at dusk – Temple Bar, Dublin, Republic of Ireland.

with only a few snafus. The architecture mixes some incredible contemporary buildings alongside beautiful historic brick ones, all brightened with overflowing flower baskets. The sweeping span of the Samuel Beckett Bridge over the River Liffee contrasts with beautiful scrolling designs on the streetlights. Lots of design inspiration!

We walked to a lively pub for a late Irish lunch and traditional live music. Another wonderful meal after a jet-lag break with an amazing duo performing both contemporary ballads and jaunty Irish jigs. Tomorrow we start at the Book of Kells Museum!

My husband, Randy Erickson, and Christina Fairley Erickson

My dear friends, I’ve decided to take a break for a little while from blogging. After working hard last week in my new class, then getting the “Salsa!” exhibition installed at the Mighty Tieton Warehouse Gallery, I’ve looked around at my priorities and have realized that I need to spend more time with my family and with making my own artwork, rather than being on the computer so much. I’ve loved sharing with you and will be continuing to read (and comment) on my favorite blogs. Thanks for all the support and encouragement you’ve provided for me.


Christina Fairley Erickson

Christina’s Salsa quilt (in progress)

I don’t know about you, but I generally have too much on my design wall… and sometimes the things that are up aren’t what I’m currently working on!  Not only am I working on finishing up my Salsa Quilt, I have my Waterfall colorplay quilt, my little “Waiting” piece, and fabric to start a piece for the Outdoor “Salsa in the Sun” show.  I guess if they’re up on my wall, I don’t really count them as a UFO… which implies that you’ve sort of given up on it.

By the way, I’m just finishing up my tutorial on “True Triangles”, the freemotion quilting design which I’ve created for the Chili Pepper block.  Check back on Sunday (April 7) to see the video tutorial!

So, what do you have on your design wall?   By the way, if you don’t yet have your own design wall, click here for a great tutorial on how to make one for yourself from Quilts by Jen. 

I’ve decided to open a “Design Wall Weekend” link party each week for Fiber and Mixed Media of all sorts.    You might notice a couple new tutorials I just posted to help out anyone who is interested in participating in the link party.

“Waiting for Inspiration” by Carolyn Hitter
I think that it’s best to have content that matches the content and interests served with the blog that’s hosting the party, so blogs that will be featured will have and emphasis on the following:
  • Quilting and fabrics 
  • Fiber art of any kind
  • Hand & machine stitch or embroidery
  • Mixed media art
  • Book-making, art journals, and sketchbooks
  • Tutorials for any quilting, fiber, mixed media, sketchbook and other arts
  • These can be works in progress or finishes
So, if you’re a blogger, make sure and check in on Saturday or Sunday and post your blog.  If you’re just interested as a reader, you’ll find a whole lot of additional diverse, fun and interesting content during the weekends!
Artist Hanny Couwenhoven

Back in the Jun/July 2012 issue of Quilting Arts Magazine, a fiberart group named “Windkracht 10” was featured in an article by Lynn Krawczyk.  Based in the Netherlands, these Dutch fiber artists choose to display their work outdoors.  While creating work that will be exposed to the elements may be challenging, there are certain advantages, as well.  If the artist takes into consideration the colors of the surroundings when making their piece, the artwork can be remarkably striking.

As an example, this piece by Hanny Couwenhoven reflects the rainbow of colors as well as the sky.  The sheer fabrics allow the background to be seen, as well as creating more color variations as the transparencies of different fabrics are layered on each other.

Artist Kun Speelman

Another factor that needs to be considered is the size of the piece.  When you’re exhibiting outdoors, size matters!  You need to consider the amount of space in which your piece will be displayed.  If it is a small enclosed garden space, the scale of the piece can be much smaller than a piece that is out on an open plain.

Of course, any type of fiber that is exposed to the elements needs to be constructed with the understanding that wind, storms, rain, and sun will all take their toll.  You need to check the weather patterns for the location you’ll be exhibiting and make sure to construct your piece with materials and techniques that will stand up stronger to the environment.  For instance, seams may be sewn double and “fabrics” might include tyvek, canvas, or nautical materials.

Artist Dery Timmer

Another Northwest treasure in the Fiber Art world, Mandy Greer makes incredible installation pieces using crocheted and sewn fabric.  If you’d like to see one of her performance art/installations click here.


Artist  Hannelieke van de Beek

For any of you who are Washington State Artists, I have a new opportunity for you to break into outdoor exhibitions.  In conjunction with Washington State’s Contemporary QuiltArt Association’s exhibition “Salsa!” in the Mighty Tieton Warehouse Gallery, Tieton Arts and Humanities invite all Washington state artists to enter in a juried exhibition of outdoor fiber art.  Artwork may include (but is not limited to) yarn-bombing, banners, flags, and soft sculpture.

The exhibit “Salsa in the Sun” has an entry deadline of April 7 and will open on Saturday May 25.  The entry form and information is available online at: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dE5aR3dKaklLRGt3cWdVLVFOWmZsaVE6MQ

Artist Elsvan Baarle

Windkracht 10 Members Featured in this post:

Hanny Couwenhoven
Kun Speelman
Derry Timmer
Hannelieke van de Beek
Elsvan Baarle

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We have some wonderful additions to the ongoing 5 x 7 Artist Challenge!

Janine, aka Rainbow Hare Quilts, of East Sussex UK: 
Fused Fabric Valentine by Janine

Janine has a wonderful post on her Rainbow Hare blog called “Do You Ever Get Quilter’s Block?”    Not only does she describe making this wonderful fused fabric Valentine, she also links up to a Ted Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of “Eat, Pray, Love.”  What a wonderful opportunity to hear someone who has made such a success in her creative life struggle with many of the same challenges we all do.  Thank-you, Janine, for sharing both your 5 x 7 pieces and Elizabeth Gilbert’s exposé on creative genius.
Detail of Rainbow Hare’s Fused Fabric Valentine

Janine discusses her process for the little house piece to the left in her blog post “Not What I Meant At All”.  I think it’s really helpful to hear how people start and what they go through to get to a finished result.

Next, Hilda of Hilda’s Hideout is working with found objects.  Here are two of her newest pieces- I see a series in the making!

Lise, aka French Canadian 23, has been working with trees for her 5 x 7 pieces:
Lise describes her process for making Birch Trees… I love how the paper-pieced background is so muted but totally gives you the sense of the tree branches, as well as the graphic fabrics which work well for different bark!
Oak Tree in Fall by Lise- FrenchCanadian23

Although not yet complete, Lise has her second tree quilt well under way.  I’m looking forward to seeing it when she finishes the thread painting that she’s planning.

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“Forest” by Leslie Richmond
Mixed fiber fabric, heat reactive base, metal patinas, acrylic paint, dyes
“Forest” detail by Leslie Richmond

Lesley Richmond of Vancouver B.C. created this fantastic piece of mixed fiber fabric, a heat reactive base, metal patinas, acrylic paint, and dyes.  She starts with taking photos of trees, focusing on the branch structure.  From there, she uses the images to make a silk screen and prints the trees on a silk-cotton fabric with a heat-reactive base.  When heated, the heat-reactive base both expands and becomes dimensional.  

“Forest” detail by Leslie Richmond

She then removes the remaining cellulose/cotton fibers with a mild acid.  What remains is the image and the silk-threads in the background.  The final processes are stiffening the structures of the trees and painting them with acrylic paints and metallic patinas.  

I think this piece may have been my favorite in the whole exhibition.  I really recommend looking at Lesley’s website. Her work is exceptional!

“Forest” detail by Leslie Richmonds
“Untitled” by Scott Fife
Archival cardboard, drywall screws, and glue

I had the pleasure of sitting next to one of the artists during the BAM High Fiber Diet Symposium, Scott Fife.    Scott’s sculpture is large… life sized.  Loving our Northwest beaches, it’s amazing to encounter a humongous piece of driftwood leaning up against the wall of a formal art museum.

Actually, this sculpture is probably 12-15 feet in height.  It’s made from archival cardboard, drywall screws and glue.  He chose to use cardboard as a way to honor and reclaim the product that originally came from a tree.  Scott’s recent work is particularly interested in the mortality of trees.

For the last year, I’ve been learning to make driftwood sculpture.  The type of sculpture I’m making is based of the Luron method… a way to take an interesting piece of driftwood (you need to choose a piece with interesting lines, curves, and grain) and the remove the outer dead layers of wood to find the inner heartwood.

Below the detailed images of Scott’s driftwood log are a few of the beautiful pieces made by members of the the Northwest Driftwood Artists (and two of my teachers).

“Untitled” detail by Scott Fife
Tree knot
“Untitled” detail by Scott Fife
Tree knot 

“Tumbleweed” by Dave Sao

“Wildfire” by Dave Sao

“Emerging Swan” by Tuttie Peet
“Safe Haven” by Jo Marsh

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For great ideas on freemotion quilting, check out Leah Day’s FreeMotion Quilting Project

 On the advice from my reader from Sophie Junction, today I went and visited StoneMountain and Daughter Fabrics, in Berkeley, CA.  After 30 years, this store has a wonderful collection for quilters and seamstresses alike.  They have one of the better collections of wool and linen I’ve seen (and I’ve looked for both in the Seattle area.)

They also had some fabulous ethnic fabrics.  The ceiling of StoneMountain has two wonderful long crazy quilt-like banners streaming across it, as well as fabulous quilts and an unusual kimono hanging from it.

 After leaving Berkeley, we headed back to San Francisco,and visited an art supply & fabric shop in the Haight-Ashbury district called “Mendels & Far-Out Fabrics“.  My girlfriend, Uvonne Jones-Most, is a painter, gourd artist, and glass maker.  She referred me to Mendels, as a place to find unusual textiles, as well as incredible art supplies.  Uvonne told me that Mendels stocks such unique products to appeal to the diverse population of San Francisco and the Haight neighborhood.

Well, she was right.  Feathers, glitter, all sorts of sparkley fabrics, fake fur in every color, hand-made papers, and more.
Stocked to the gills, it’s almost impossible to NOT find something that you’d like to play with!

 I’m hoping to visit Dharma Trading Co. tomorrow, if I can fit it in with my family visits.