Tag Archives | art

Only Three Days Left to See Celebrate Doilies

doily textile art by Suzann Thompson

Don’t wait too long! You have only three more days to see the Celebrate Doilies exhibit at the Dora Lee Langdon Center in Granbury, Texas. The exhibit’s last day in Granbury is Wednesday, September 27, 2017.

Art quilts, stories, and poetry fill the first floor of the historic Gordon Home, beginning with Constant Comets and Sweet Home, which greet you as you walk into the front door.

The two front rooms have fireplaces and bay windows, and I really like how gallery manager Joel Back displayed some of the posters on the mantels.

doily heritage poster by Suzann Thompson

In one bay window, we decorated the grand piano with Sandi Horton’s family heirloom crochet and poetry.
Sandi Horton's family heirloom crochet and poetry

In the other bay window, you’ll find posters about doilies of the past and modern doilies from Coats & Clark. They loaned designer doilies for us to display as well. The modern doilies are by designers Susan Lowman, Kathryn A. White, and Lisa Gentry.

Doilies Past and Present by Coats & Clark

Come ready to read Sandi Horton’s poetry and about crocheters of the past. Once you’ve been through the exhibit, it’s a short walk to Granbury’s historic town square, where you’ll find great food, coffee, and shopping.

doily textile art by Suzann Thompson

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Celebrate Doilies Opening Reception Today

Doily yarn bombs at Celebrate Doilies by Suzann Thompson

We’re celebrating Celebrate Doilies today, July 22, with an opening reception from noon to 2 p.m. at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council, 204 River North Boulevard, in Stephenville, Texas.

Just look for the big doilies on the front of the building. The one on the left is made from macramé cord from my mom’s stash. Thank you, Mom!

Suzann Thompson with baling twine doily

The doily on the right is from my dad’s stash of baling twine. Thank you, Dad!

A friend saw this photo of me with the baling twine doily and wrote, “You look so tiny.” That was sweet, and it gives you an idea of the relative size of this doily.

Once inside the gallery, turn to the right to find the Doily Panel, made by participants in a workshop at my studio on July 8–Anna, Ella, Janetta, Royce, and me.

Doily covered panel at Celebrate Doilies by Suzann Thompson

And there’s more—doily heritage, doily art quilts, and doily poetry. Come and see for yourself!

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Sacred Threads in Herndon, VA, through Sunday

A Worthy Accomplishment, art quilt with doily and other crochet, by Suzann Thompson

As you walk through the Sacred Threads art quilt exhibit, you can listen to a recording of artists talking about their work. (More about the exhibit below.)

Coming up with a one-minute commentary about my piece, A Worthy Accomplishment, was a new challenge for me. I wrote and *cut and practiced reading,* and repeated between *s several times. That’s a reference to knitting and crochet instructions, in case you were wondering.

The volunteers at Sacred Threads set up a telephone recording session, where artists could call in and record their speech. I was able to listen to my recording and decide whether to save or re-record. It took me about three tries to get it just the way I wanted it.

* * * *

Sacred Threads is an exhibition of quilts that express life’s journeys. Through their art, quilters express joy, inspiration, spirituality, healing, grief, and peace. Read lots more about this thoughtful and interesting exhibit at www.sacredthreadsquilts.com.

The project is run by volunteers, like these two who were hanging the quilts for the 2017-2019 show, which debuted in Herndon, VA. This photo from the Sacred Threads Facebook page is used with permission.

A Worthy Accomplishment, art quilt with doily and other crochet, by Suzann Thompson, at Sacred Threads

The exhibit will be at the Floris Methodist Church in Herndon, Virginia, through Sunday, July 23. After that, A Worthy Accomplishment is coming home, but thirty-six of the original 300 quilts in the Sacred Threads exhibit will travel around the United States through June 2019. These are the venues so far:

  • Flint Festival of Quilts, Flint MI – September 2017
  • HeART Gallery, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Toledo, OH – October 18-30, 2017
  • Grace Episcopal Church, Gainesville GA – November 1 – December 15, 2017
  • Voice of the Spirit Gallery, West Raleigh Presbyterian Church, Raleigh, NC -January – February, 2018
  • Southeastern Quilt & Textile Museum, Carrollton GA – March-June, 2018
  • Good Shepard Episcopal Church, Hayesville NC – July, 2018
  • The Rectory Cultural Arts Center, Norcross, GA – August, 2018
  • Virginia Quilt Museum, Harrisonburg VA – September-December, 2018
  • Best of the Valley Quilt Show, Lindsay, CA – April, 2019
  • A World of Quilts, Danbury, CT – May 2019

If you or your venue is interested in receiving a portion of the 2017 exhibit, please indicate your interest by filling out the Traveling Exhibit Interest form.

If you aren’t able to see the show in Virginia, I hope you will like to read the speech about A Worthy Accomplishment:

Hi. I’m Suzann Thompson, talking to you from Comanche County, Texas.

I’ve met a startling number of people who feel unworthy.

I think our culture feeds this perception. As a society, we seem to admire enormous wealth and power. We marvel at technology. And then we go to the movies and see heroes swooping in to save the world!

Those are BIG, IMPORTANT things.

My quilt, A Worthy Accomplishment, draws attention to the SMALL important things that most of us do every day. We take care of ourselves and others, work at home or away. We are kind and thoughtful. And sometimes, we take time to make something, like a delicious meal or a quilt.

We probably won’t become famous or rich for doing these things, but I think they are worthy accomplishments and because we do them, WE ARE worthy. I hope you think so, too.

Read more about this wall hanging at www.textilefusion.com/blog/?p=a-worthy-accomplishment.

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Arranging Flowers for Winterling

I had to try many different flower arrangements before finding my favorite for Winterling. It was fun! Here are a few:

flower arrangement for TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson flower arrangement for TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

Hmmm. Yeah, the white flowers seem too startlingly bright. So for the next try, I took the daisies off and also the big sunflower, because I thought it was too heavy and large for the composition.

flower arrangement for TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompsonflower arrangement for TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

How about the one on the left?—it’s kind of minimal with a more controlled color selection. Given a choice, I usually go for fancy over minimal. The next one is alright.

flower arrangement for TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

Thinking the sunflower might not be too heavy after all, I added it back in. Yep, I think this is the one.

flower arrangement for TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

After pinning all the flowers and leaves in place, it was time to sit down and sew. And I mean sew for a long time.

Something kept bothering me about the Samarkand Sunflower which has a yellow center, then a white round and a band of periwinkle blue before the round of white petals. The blue band looked too plain and big. A few bright yellow seed beads took care of that problem.

flower arrangement for TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling, by Suzann Thompson

After sewing the flowers on, I appliqued a crocheted picot vine in the borders. Each picot has a seed bead on it, which is stitched in place to keep the picot from curling. Buttons berries grow from the vine.

That does it for Winterling! Want to know where the flower patterns are from? Visit this post to find out.

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Winterling

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling

We don’t normally go around leaving coffeepots on the bed, but this is a special coffeepot. It’s from the now-closed Winterling chinaware factory in Schwarzenbach an der Saale in northern Bavaria. My great-grandmother, Lina Schoedel, worked there. One of Winterling’s patterns was the blue and white Zwiebelmuster or onion pattern.

This coffeepot became a vase in my TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling. But this isn’t the first time the Zwiebelmuster has inspired me: the Perspective Daisy and Curly Curlicues designs in Crochet Garden were inspired by the china, as well as the Leaves and Berries Spray (free pattern here).

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling

So back to the coffeepot on the bed. I photographed this scene to help me see how light and shadow would play in my wall hanging. Sometimes I use photos to create patterns for my wall hangings. After manipulating the photos in Adobe Photoshop Elements, I print a full-sized final draft.

Being a fan of color contrast, I chose orange for the background to the blue and white pattern of the coffeepot/vase. I sorted orange yarns into light, medium light, medium, medium dark, and dark qualities, and set to work knitting orange yardage on my Ultimate Sweater machine.

After blocking and stabilizing with fusible interfacing, the knitted yardage was smooth and even.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling

It was time to cut up the knitting! For the curtains and vase, I used my paper pattern to cut pieces to the correct size and shape. For everything else, I cut patches of knitting freehand and fitted them together to form areas of light and shadow. I pinned the patches in place and sewed them to a foundation fabric which wouldn’t be visible in the finished piece.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling

I couldn’t wait to try some flower arrangements. At the International Quilt Festival in Chicago, Spring 2016, participants in my Open Studios session arranged flowers. My first idea was to use blue, violet, and yellow flowers as a contrast to the orange. They soon convinced me that more colors were better.

step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling step by step TextileFusion wall hanging, Winterling

If you’re thinking the vase in these pictures looks funny, you’re right. It’s because I was using my paper pattern as a place holder. But before finalizing the flower arrangement, I needed to create the vase with knitted fabric. That took a while.

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Snowflake Wall Hanging

step by step TextileFusion snowflake wall hanging

My sweet friend Hazel gave me a cardigan she bought years ago in Scotland. It was a pretty example of Fair Isle knitting, done with raglan sleeves. Thank you, Hazel!

The star pattern put me in a wintery, snowy frame of mind, and luckily there were just enough complete star motifs in the sweater for me to cut the long hexagons and form the points of the resulting snowflake.

Knitted scraps from previous wall hangings filled in the background. I sewed the patches together onto a foundation fabric, which won’t be visible in the finished piece.

step by step TextileFusion snowflake wall hanging

Next came quilting and binding, and I used fabrics from another generous person or people. The blue and white fabrics were in the estate of a lady from Germany. Her heirs wanted her fabrics to go to someone who would appreciate them.

I got to be that person! The link was the heirs’ former German teacher, who was also a friend of my mother’s. Thank you to those lovely people! I do appreciate their mother’s fabrics and laces and vintage handwork.

step by step TextileFusion snowflake wall hanging

As I’ve said many times, embellishment is my favorite part in the process of making wall hangings. There would be lots of button-sewing in my future.

step by step TextileFusion snowflake wall hanging

I was conflicted about which look to go for. I liked the subtle transparent and white buttons at the left of this photo and my daughter agreed. However, the bold blue buttons on the right seemed a better design choice.

Lately when in doubt, I go to Instagram. Many Instagram friends answered “Go for the bold!” Only one person agreed with Ella and me. I went with the majority.

Here are the blue buttons all sewn on.

step by step TextileFusion snowflake wall hanging

I’m still going to add transparent and white buttons around the flake. Looking forward to enjoying that zen zone of button sewing.

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A Worthy Accomplishment

A Worthy Accomplishment, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

“Art imitates life,” people say. Recently, I saw art holding up a mirror to life, and the mirror reflected much more than I can usually see with the unaided eye.

At the movies we saw a preview about a boy who draws a monster. The monster comes to life and frightens the bullies tormenting the boy. In our main feature, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a sad, desperate, and powerless person inadvertently turned frustration into a powerful external force that destroyed buildings and killed people. This force manifested as a storm of destructive particles.

At home, we watched Star Trek Beyond, where the huge, fancy Starship Enterprise is taken down by a swarm of tiny spaceships, under the command of an unhappy former Starfleet officer.

The two takeaways for me were: desperation can turn into a deadly force; lots of tiny things can take down a big thing. These two phenomena are happening in our world’s population right now.

Which brings me quite naturally, I think you will agree, to my latest wall hanging, A Worthy Accomplishment.

Our United States culture worships enormity. Large corporations, huge wealth and fame, amazing feats of technology are admired and given special treatment. In contrast, regular people who do regular thing, like raising children, cleaning, cooking, going to work every day and other essential but not very exciting or profitable things, are treated as insignificant.

It’s fine to admire amazing things, and we should also value and admire everyday work and achievement. We need to acknowledge the contribution of people who take care of all the everyday things in this country, because they are the foundation on which our society is built.

I’d also like to bring to your attention the contribution of many thousands of women (mostly) who took the time to crochet a doily to beautify their homes, or a pretty trim to make a pillowcase or coverlet more inviting.

Many of these creators would say, “Oh that’s nothing, really. It’s just something I made.”

I say, “It is something, precisely because you made it.” It is something handmade, with love or curiosity and certainly with skill. It is something to be proud of, something beautiful, something worthy.

A Worthy Accomplishment, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

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Sweet Home

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

I remember very well the sweetness and simplicity of childhood and the images from that time that are with me to this day. Children’s book illustrations and some idealized picture of home are strong in my memory. I think that’s where a lot of the designs for Cute Crochet World came from.

My current project is an exhibit called Celebrate Doilies! which will debut at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council Gallery in Stephenville, Texas, in July and August 2017. In addition to a lot of doily history (read more here), the exhibit will include my art quilts made with vintage crochet.

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

At first I couldn’t figure out how to incorporate this thread crocheted placemat into a quilt. My mind apparently mulled over this problem while I wasn’t paying attention. Some days later, my perception of the piece suddenly shifted from a placemat to picture frame. After that, it was easy to decide what picture to frame: a childlike picture of home.

Strip-piecing left over from a previous quilt seemed perfect to frame the frame. Luckily, I still had enough cut strips to fill the gaps.

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

Cute Crochet World came to my aid, with patterns for crocheting the “Cozy Home,” “Cherry Blossom” (I used green instead of pink), “Summer Sun” with clubby rays, and “Cutely Cloudy.” I made several trees and two suns, before finding the right combination of size and color.

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

When button time came around, I turned to family and friends for input on which buttons I should sew around the edge of the placemat: mother-of-pearl or blue?

My mom thought the house looked like it was on an island, the lace edges with blue underlay seemed like a beach, and the dark blue buttons were the deep blue sea. I liked this image very well.

The consensus from Instagram and Twitter was that the blue buttons looked better than white, but some friends said they thought a lighter blue might look best.

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

I posted the comparison of dark blue and lighter blue buttons. @franloveswool summarized my own feelings, saying, “This is trickier than I thought.” @fairetreasures said that the dark blue gave the piece great contrast, and the lighter blue looked nice because it picked up the colors of the house.

What to do? Mix light and dark? I tried that, but meh. Wait. Why just one round of buttons? Why not a round of lighter blue and a round of darker blue? Yes, that was the solution. Thank you, friends and family!

Sweet Home, crochet and quilt art, by Suzann Thompson

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No. 10 Crochet Cotton Flowers are Perfect Quilt Embellishment

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson, detail

I wondered and planned and fretted about how to strongly stabilize a quilt so it would hold up a bunch of crocheted flowers.

As it often happens, my projects change as I work on them and begin to understand how they are developing. So instead of my original plan of crocheting flowers with yarn, I decided to crochet with No. 10 crochet cotton. The flowers turned out to be so light, the quilt didn’t need extra stabilizing. Yay!

My collection of Aunt Lydia’s No. 10 crochet cotton had the perfect colors to make the “Five Point” flower from Crochet Bouquet (above), and “Forget Me Nots” from Crochet Garden (below).

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson, detail

You can use crocheted flowers to embellish bed quilts, too. To attach them, use sewing thread to sew all around the flower’s edge. Tack down the flower center. Use your judgement whether you need to add more stitching between the center and the edges of the flower.

Most of the time, sewing thread disappears between the loops of crochet, but use a sewing thread that closely matches the color of your crochet thread or yarn, just in case.

The wall hanging is called Evolution of Minimalism. You can read more about it at here and here.

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson, detail

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Evolution of Minimalism

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

In the late 1990s, minimalism in home décor was all the rage in England—at least that’s what we read in the newspapers at the time. Minimalist homes were clean, cleaner, cleanest! They were calm, uncluttered. Any decoration not strictly necessary for function was not allowed.

Minimalism is not my style, because I like decoration and stuff within easy reach. But I can see the attraction. It’s so full of potential—lots of surfaces to fill with books, paper, pens, vases, coffee cups.

For all the functional trendiness of minimalism, I feel that human eyes crave variation and decoration. So here’s a wall hanging all about how we may enjoy the starkness of minimalism for a while, and what happens next. Its title is Evolution of Minimalism.

In the beginning, we have the most minimal nine-patch ever. Sewn with patches of the exact same plain fabric, it is totally uncluttered. It’s so calming, so clean, so… Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

…so, well, boring. Hey, could we vary the color a little? Just to give it some interest?Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

That helped. A contrasting color would perk it up even more. But don’t worry, we can hold on to our minimalist roots by using the original colors.Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

Oooo! That squiggly pattern in the middle is kind of fun. It might be even more interesting to have some texture.Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

Love that single button in the middle, and the mother-of-pearl button fabric! Very subtle, how the pearl button fabric is next to the ocean wave patterned fabric. Clever. If one button is good, four buttons are better. Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

The nine-patch is getting kind of old. Whoa—this log cabin block is perfect. Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

Do you sense a tipping point? The log cabin is turning into a log pentagon. Do I see some red? Woo hoo!Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

Colors and buttons and flowers are busting out all over! Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

This is great! Lots of color! Lots of pattern! Lots of texture! It’s wonderful! Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson Wow. All this stuff is wearing me out, making me tired. Let’s clean up all this clutter and get back to basics. We’re going back to the beginning. Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

And so the natural evolution of minimalism goes.

It’s all coded in the DNA.

Evolution of Minimalism, by Suzann Thompson

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