Beagle Chair by Linda Axford

Dream Chair Corral – Beagle Chair

 

Beagle Chair by Linda Axford
Beagle Chair by Linda Axford

Bay Area graphic designer and quilter, Linda Axford created this wonderful new chair.

Linda came to my Dream Chair Saturdays class, which is held once a month at Wooden Gate Quilts in Danville.  She had the quilt with her and we were able to share it with everyone in the class!

It is always so exciting for me to see the work that people are doing with inspiration from “Dream Chair Quilts.”

Linda used the beagle pattern she found in Carol Armstrong’s book of cool dog applique patterns called “Best in Show.”  It was just the perfect size for the chair and Linda just put it right on the seat!

Beagle Chair close up
Beagle Chair close up

The chair is embellished with two sizes of ric rac and has lovely quilting!  Linda is a dab hand at using the Roxanne’s Glue Baste it.  She places little dots of glue from the tiny applicator tip and uses it to tack the ric rac into place until she can sew over it!  It’s a great way to hold the embellishments in place without using pins!

Of course, I love when anyone uses glue on their quilts – so Maverick!

I look forward to seeing more of Linda’s work!

Beagle Chair detail
Beagle Chair detail

 

Dream Chair Corral – the Yellow Chair and forgiveness

 

Yellow Chair
Yellow Chair, by Alethea Ballard, 2009

Yellow Chair was the third or fourth chair that I made.  It has a secret!  It’s backward.

If you compare it to the other chairs, you’ll see that the right arm is the larger one.  When you make the chairs according to the pattern, left is the larger one.  Unless…

I had been using glue stick on the back of the pattern pieces, which is really quick and easy, but it leaves the edges to their own naughty devices.   Sometimes the edges fray a little and get a little hairy.  At this point you can either leave them or give them a hair cut.

Yellow Chair detail
Yellow Chair detail

For this chair I had found an amazing fabric for the background, and I loved how it looked with the large flower motif in the fabric.

I decided to be super clever and use fusible web for this chair.  I traced the pattern pieces on to the back of the fusible and went on my merry way.  And the whole chair came out backwards, as the fusible process is usually done in reverse.

For a long time I really didn’t like this chair, just because it looked wonky to me.  Also, there is a little bit of blue on the left arm that makes it look like it is part of the background and that bothered me, too.

A shadow behind this chair would have helped set the chair apart from the background.  In retrospect, I am glad I didn’t put one in, as it would have diminished the painterly feel of the quilt.

Several people had told me that this was their favorite, and I would dismiss them.  “Oh, I don’t like it,” I would say.  It’s my failure.

This week when I was looking for a chair for the Dream Chair Corral, I was struck when I saw the photos of the Yellow Chair.  I really liked it!

When I look at this quilt now, I love the colors and the amazing stitching.  I love the borders and the cool binding.  The apricot-colored flowers are a lovely contrast to the cool colors in the chair and the background, and that color is picked up again in the versatile Kaffe Fasset-designed stripe.   I am delighted to see different cuts of the blue and yellow flower fabric, featured in the chair’s back, throughout the borders.

 

Yellow Chair right side detail
Yellow Chair right side detail

 

 

Sometimes, when I finish a quilt, I have been looking at it for so long that I’ve reached a visual saturation point.  A break from the quilt is sometimes needed in order to appreciate what one has created.

Ultimately, I think I forgive this chair for being wonky.  And I find I really like it!

I think that we, as artists, can be very hard on ourselves and we need to stay kind, supportive, and forgiving.

Yellow Chair back view
Yellow Chair back view

Flowers As Art – Inspiration comes in so many forms

Yellow Rose Chair
Yellow Rose Chair

I have a cup that a friend gave to me that says, “Do something creative every day.”

So many of us are creative in tiny ways, we add a little spice to a meal, we cut our kid’s sandwiches in a new shape, we arrange our scarves differently, we sing a funny little song, we make up a new swear word…

Guadalupe grid
Guadalupe grid

You don’t have to be an artist to be creating all the time.

However, creativity needs inspiration!  It’s hard to be constantly creative without input from sources that spark your spirit.

I think I need a new cup.  I want to add to the motto.  How about,  “Find a little inspiration every day.”

You know what I mean – the daily grind can be very wearing, and we need to find things that help feed our little inspirations – not to mention some big food for big creative projects like quilts and paintings!

Big bouquet for lady
Big bouquet for lady

I got a whole 12-course meal of inspiration this week at the M. H. de Young Museum in San Francisco.  They held their annual Bouquets to Art exhibit and, for the first time, I was able to go.

Dog
Dog

Different Bay Area florists make floral arrangements to go with, compliment, or evoke the feeling of a piece of art.

Here are my favorites.

The show was extremely crowded, so getting a photo was a big challenge.  I had to squeeze forward, elbow some little old lady out of the way, mutter unpleasantly for the people behind the work to move their keister – can’t they see me down here with this camera!

Large arrangement with pheasant feathers
Large arrangement with pheasant feathers

There was no way I could even get the information about the art or artists or the names of the florists – sorry!  I am so short that people were steadying their cameras on my head like a chubby little pedestal.

Cool painting dude
Cool painting dude

In fact, I think is OK to look and see and feel and not have to know everything about what you are looking at.  How often do you pick up a book or a magazine and just look at the pictures?  I do that 95% of the time – I mean, I can only take in so much information and what I really need is the visual info!

Flowers with Rothko painting -detail
Flowers with Rothko painting -detail

My friend and I asked a kindly stranger to take our photo with one of the arrangements, so we’d have a little reminder of our trip there.  She was kind and we had to wait a long time to let everyone take the pictures before we snuck in and stood in front of the flowers.  It took just a second, and we thanked everyone for their patience.  One biddy quipped, “Don’t do it again,” in a mean raspy voice.  That was inspiration for a really good laugh!  I mean, really?!  Still – take the inspiration where you can get it!

If you double click on the photos they will go to their own page and you can really get a good look.

My favorite might have been this large orange arrangement.

Big orange arrangement
Big orange arrangement
Big orange arrangement - detail
Big orange arrangement - detail

Of course the chairs had a special spot in my tiny heart.

I am really glad I got to see the show.  Who knows where all this inspiration will lead me?

Next time I’ll take a ladder, a GPS system, and an oxygen tank, but for now…  Off to the studio – what will I make today?

Big gnarly chair
Big gnarly chair
Little metal chair with cats
Little metal chair with cats

Barbed-Wire Betsy – the perfect quilt for the Dream Chair Corral

Barbed-Wire Betsy Chair Quilt by Alethea Ballard
Barbed-Wire Betsy Chair Quilt by Alethea Ballard

Yee Ha!  Here she is – Rodeo girl gone wild!

This was one of those quilts which came together in a flash.  I pulled out my stack of cowboy (and cowgirl) fabrics, and this rodeo girl jumped up and practically shot me in the foot with her revolver.

There were a few images in the fabric that I wanted to alter, like a horses rear end on the arm of the chair and a head at the bottom of the seat back.  It was easy to fussy cut images from the fabric out and glue them in place over the top of the parts I wanted to hide.  If you click on the pictures, you can see them close up and read my notes.

Barbed-Wire Betsy Chair left leg detail
Barbed-Wire Betsy Chair left leg detail
Barbed-Wire Betsy Chair seat back detail
Barbed-Wire Betsy Chair seat back detail

I am really excited by creating borders that are “carved” out of the fabric.  This cactus fabric just begged to be used in a carved border.  See?

Once the chair was made and the borders were coming along, I spied the flower fabric in my pile, and the rest is (Wild West) history!  I love how the cowboys peek out from behind the flowers!   So playful and fun!

Barbed-Wire Betsy Chair lower right border detail
Barbed-Wire Betsy Chair lower right border detail

I quilted barbed wire in the borders.  Yummy!

I think this is my second-favorite chair ever!

P.S. Yes, for those of you paying attention, my boyfriend Alex made most of this fabric – I love him!

Don’t tell my husband about my boyfriend, please!

I have been hanging out with my boyfriend Alexander Henry again.  Don’t tell my husband!

Matisse Arm Chair detail
Matisse Arm Chair detail

OK, so Alexander Henry is not an actual person, but for the sake of one’s fabric obsessions, let’s just pretend he is.

For us fabric fanatics, we can create deep bonds with our fabric and get very attached.  How many times have I heard someone say, “I just CAN’T cut it up!”  It is that idea that if you cut it into pieces, that you’ll never see it again – how silly is that?  When you make a quilt that’s exactly what you do – you get to see it over and over again – right in the quilt.

The trick is to use that fabric in a quilt for you!  The other trick is to us a large enough piece that you don’t feel like you’ve wrecked it.  That is one of the best parts of the using your favorite fabric in a dream chair.

It’s been a while since I made a chair quilt (OK, only about six weeks, but that is an eternity in the dream chair world).

So I went into the fabric closet (OK, ONE of the fabric closets) and pulled out some pieces that would make super cool chairs.

I had recently bought a fabric with images of Matisse ladies, that included images of the artist’s painted chairs and his quintessential leaf cut outs.  That was a fo sho choice.  I love the idea of chair fabrics on chair quilts.  The quilt was a real joy to make – I just popped this baby right out!

Matisse Arm Chair
Matisse Arm Chair by Alethea Ballard

When I am creating and things are going well there is this wave of positive energy that I get – it is like some great Seratonin rush – you know like eating good chocolate or something.  How can I create with this amazing fabric and not fall in love with my boyfriend along the way?

Matisse Arm Chair detail
Matisse Arm Chair detail
Matisse Arm Chair detail
Matisse Arm Chair detail

Then, I was thinking, how about a cowboy quilt?  I brought out my pile of cowboy fabrics, and then I found Rodeo Girl and a bunch of other cool cowboys and bandanna and stuff – kickin’!  Check out the Dream Chair Corral – chair of the week – she deserves her own post!!!

Humph.  How funny that all of these fabrics were made by my paramour?

I never paid attention to fabric manufacturers until I started to write Maverick Quilts, but now as I pull fabrics out of my pile(s), I find that so many of them are Alexander Henry’s.

Here are the things I love about AH fabrics:  1. The colors     2. The large-scale motifs     3. The images

Do you think there is something wrong with me?  Please say no.

I am happy to say that my dates with Alex (I call him Alex) have been going well.

By the way, one of  my students told me that she had been hanging out with Alex, too.  Do you think he’s two-timing me?

Dream Chair Corral – Featured Quilt of the Week

Sandy Jorgensen is an artist and quilter, from Fremont, California.  Here is her wonderful new chair quilt, Morning Fairies at Grandma’s House.

Sandy’s exuberant work is really exciting to me and her enthusiasm for the chair quilts gives me inspiration and much joy.  I have been lucky enough to do the machine quilting for her chair projects.  When she gets them back she adds beads and other embellishments.

Don’t you love the birds and fairies on this whimsical quilt?

Morning Fairies at Grandma's House by Sandy Jorgensen
Morning Fairies at Grandma's House by Sandy Jorgensen
Inner Border Detail of Morning Fairies in Grandma's Garden by Sandy Jorgensen
Inner Border Detail of Morning Fairies in Grandma's Garden by Sandy Jorgensen
Inner Border Detail of Morning Fairies in Grandma's Garden by Sandy Jorgensen
Inner Border Detail of Morning Fairies in Grandma's Garden by Sandy Jorgensen
Chair Detail of Morning Fairies in Grandma's Garden by Sandy Jorgensen
Chair Detail of Morning Fairies in Grandma's Garden by Sandy Jorgensen