Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Birthday

I was asked to create a small piece of art for a friends' birthday. In the past I have shy-ed away from making really small pieces because my clientele wants the smaller pieces to cost less, when in actuality it takes a lot more time and skill to work in the smaller space. We've been trained to think the bigger the better and the more expensive, but I have found that in the art world objects are not priced by size but by workmanship and skill. The dream of all artists is to get paid for our workmanship, time and worth. We generally settle for less.

All said, I was so inspired by the little piece of art that I made many of them. I decided to make these just because I liked them with no thought to money or worth. So in saying happy birthday to someone, I received a gift as well.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Art Talk

I have really been working hard all year and now I finally have the opportunity to share. I read a blog where this quilter had vowed to share her work step by step. I tried to visualize myself doing that. It terrified me. I guess I am a closet quilter. I like to work alone with my own thoughts and blaring blues music. When people see things in progress they seem to feel like they should voice their vision of your piece. They always tell me what I need to do to it. Most of the time their ideas are contrary to what I had in mind. I don't take the advice and it strains the relationship. So rather than have that, I work privately.

This the most exciting time of the year for me because our annual quilt and bead art exhibit is going on. We chose "Vistas" this year and it was an exciting challenge. Each year I have great aspirations of all the quilts I want to do for the exhibit. As time gets closer I get realistic. The exhibit always opens with me still working on the last two that didn't make it. I still have a butterfly quilt on the table from last year. It won't go to waste because that one will go in the calendar next year.
Friday, November 26, 2010 we have Art Talk with myself, Elaine and Janice. It's 2-4pm at the Atrium on Sweet Auburn The Oddfellows Building 236 Auburn Ave. Atl, GA 30303. Tell everybody you know, especially people in Atlanta. As tradition will have it, I will tell a couple of my quilt stories. So as you can probably tell, I'm excited. See you there!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Place To Be

Last night was the opening reception to our new "Vistas" Exhibit at the Atrium on Sweet Auburn in downtown Atlanta. The exhibit features the work of three artist: Aisha Lumumba, Elaine Parker and Janice Hunter. We've been at it for four years now and it is great.

Of course, I was a mixture of excited and exhausted, but it made for a good combination. Friends (old and new) as well as new acquaintances and my cousin (Mildred, who is always so supportive), were pouring in. Many people who have watched us over the years were there and some who just found out about us this year. Anyway as ZZ Hill says, the party was jumping and we were having a good time. The food was really good and I am told the wine was too.

I am so proud of this exhibit. We work very hard to get better every year. I think we did it this year. Elaine, Janice and I created a triptych of the Atlanta skyline. We were all nervous about how it would turn out. Would they match? Could we get the dimensions right? I think it is daunting enough to be one person doing a triptych but to have 3 people working on one was wild. We communicated a lot and worked it out. Tell me what you think. Look close because Elaine's buildings are made of beads.
If you are going to be in Atlanta for Thanksgiving, you can still catch a glimpse of the artists at the Artists' Talk and Quilt Stories on Friday, November 26, 2010 (Black Friday) at 2-4pm Atrium on Sweet Auburn Oddfellows Building 236 Auburn Ave. Atlanta, GA 30303 (404) 418-5413. The exhibit will be showing through December 31. Atrium's hours are 9am-5pm Monday through Friday. Call about Private Showings (404) 418-5413.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Aisha Butterfly

I made this picture my profile picture on facebook and much to my surprise to I got an overwhelming response. People were writing about it daily. I wasn't sure if it was the quilt, me or the composition. I suspected it was the composition because I had posted the quilt by itself previously and it got no mention.
My daughter took the picture and she called it Mama Butterfly. I vaguely remember her saying let's take the picture in front of this quilt. Then she said move over just a little. I had no idea I was lining up with the body of the butterfly and replacing it with my body. How interesting.
The quilt is called Metamorphosis. I had this idea that the metamorphosis of a thing encompassed the coming together of many different facets. So I collected several colors of fabrics to symbolize the many facets. I knew what fabrics I wanted to use, but had no idea how the different colors would all come together to give a cohesive look. As I started to put it together I saw that a spot of red could bring it all together. Many quilters shy away from reds and golds but I embrace them. I wanted that butterfly to burst out of it's cocoon in full brilliance. Red did that. I didn't overwhelm it with red but dipped a little of it here and there.
I used a crazy quilt vibe and explored the development of my own technique for putting it together. I did some ruching, some beaded embellishments, some fabric painting, buttons, sequins, some lace trim, hand quilting and lots and lots of love.
I think that is what people see, the love.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I Luv Saturdays

I love Saturdays for several reasons. First it is the monotony breaker for the week, maybe not for me but for everyone else which in turn affects me. Saturday maybe embedded in my Psychic since I was born on Saturday. I mostly love Saturday because it is the day the I can have my whole mind to myself. I mean I can concentrate fully on my work for the whole day and not have to keep an ear out for anyone. I don't have half my brain working on a project while the other half is getting ready to go out, making sure I remember to take this or that. I'm not constantly trying to figure out who gets paid next.

I cook really early so that no one is expecting me to stop to cook. I don't have to pay any bills or answer the phone if I don't want to. I turn my radio on to my favorite Saturday morning blues show and let my sewing machine rip.

I don't have to keep one ear tuned because the baby may wake up and I'll have to stop. Someone else is doing that on Saturday. I don't run errands to the bank, the grocery store, or post office.

I don't go to meetings or anywhere else if I don't want to. I like just going inside myself and ignoring the rest of the world. While I'm in there, I create. Sometimes I create something really super and other times the work just soothes my mind. Sometimes I find it relaxing to repeat the same block over and over and over. Then I find it fulfilling to look back at the pile of blocks I have made.

When my radio show goes off, I blast my CDs. If any of my family members come by, they shake their heads about the loud music. The music helps me get lost from this world into a place where creating is free. Free of all the rules and constraints.

I have to say that I love Saturdays.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I was so inspired by Raymond Houston's blog about making the quilt blocks for the Global Change project that I set out to make some too. I went to the website and thought it was a wonderful cause. If you are a quilter, please check it out and join.

These are the blocks that I made for the project. I pray they can be worked in some kind of way. All the blocks are so vastly different that are made by people from all over the world.
The first block I made using different size strips. I like the seemingly syncopated rhythm it makes because they don't match exactly. The second came straight out of my 2" square solid stash. When I have time I cut the smallest scraps into 2" squares and put them in a box. I separate the solids from the prints. I don't throw anything away larger than 2 inches. The last on was a pattern I wanted to try out. I liked it so much. I love when a pattern is really simple but gives the look of difficulty.
Don't forget to order your copy of my 2011 fiber art calendar. See the video about the calendar at

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Saving Scraps

I started my career as a seamstress. I didn't know then that it would be my career but I loved sewing and I loved speed. So when I put the two together I became a speedy sewer. I could make a skirt in 30 minutes or whip up a dress in an hour. I relished that speed. I walked fast, all my movements were fast and the older people said I was "fast". I think they meant something else by that. My uncle would say, "Why do you walk so fast? You are going to be old by the time you are 24." We would both laugh. I don't know why he chose 24 nor could I figure out what he meant. Now I know he was saying that I was rushing through life and that I should take some time to smell the roses.

Consequently, all that fast sewing accumulated a large amount of scraps. I'd been taught (very thoroughly I might add) that it was bad to waste. So throwing those scraps of fabric away seemed like a waste. As the pile grew larger and larger and turned into boxes and boxes, I kept telling myself that one day I would make quilts with those scraps. Then my husband started saying little things like, "you sure have a lot of scraps." He helped me store them in the attic. I didn't even miss the boxes that went to the attic. When we moved he conveniently left them there. Some friends moved in the house and Damu brought over the boxes of scraps. He was beaming as he said, "you left something."

I was elated and my husband was disappointed. We all laughed and said, "if it is yours, you can't throw it a way". My scraps came home.

My uncle would be glad to know that I have learned to slow down. I finally started on my quilting journey and fell in love with the lack of speed. I like the idea of taking a project and working on it over a length of time. Quilting has nurtured that in me. Last year it paid off as I received Honorable Mention at the Pinnacle Exhibit for "A Quilter's Dream". I've been able to create some pleasing pieces from my scrap box.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

2011 Calendar

My newest work is the "Laughter, Lessons and Triumph Calendar" for 2011. I am so excited that is ready early this year for pre-orders. This is one of my triumphs because it means I am finally getting a better handle on the use of my time.
Last year I didn't get a calendar out at all. I was a little down about that. I love consistency and dependability. I felt like I wasn't either one last year, although, I did a lot of other things. This year I have had to cut some activities and focus.
This calendar is great. It really showcases my work from all the different angles I like to look from. I said once that I struggle to go outside my box. Even though, I struggle so much to do that I still find a instantly recognizable quality in what I do. I have done some traditional quilts with a slant. I have done some modern quilts with a flair and most of all I have done some people doing what I love to see them do. We all go through times where we laugh, sing, and just "be" happy. Then there are other times when we just barely make through the tough lessons life has to teach us, like it or not. But the sweetest of them all is the triumph we feel when we wake up yet another morning to either laugh or learn lessons. I say, if I wake up in the morning, it is on. I have another day to make it work. That is why this calendar is the epitome of some of the laughter, a lot of the lessons and most of all the triumph.
Pre-order today at and save $5.00.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Father's Day

I had such a great Mother's Day that I find myself looking forward to Father's Day. My dad raised us, so Father's Day was always a big deal for my sister and I. I can't say we did very much to make it special but we always thought it was a special day.
Now I have the great fortune of making it nice for my husband and young adults (that I used to call my little children). I went into a store yesterday and said I don't have to help my children pick cards for their dad anymore. They show up with the most wonderful cards that they have searched out for themselves. And like most Dad's, he saves them all.
When I was vending last month, a woman walked into our booth and looked at this quilt called Father's Love. She said, "This is nice. I wish I knew a father." I rattled that around in my head for a while, trying to figure out what she meant. Maybe she meant that she didn't know a father that she thought would appreciate that quilt. Maybe she meant she didn't know her father. Could she have meant exactly what she said, she didn't know any fathers? Whatever she meant it made me feel sad for her. I'm not sure why.
Here's wishing a Happy Father's Day to all those deserving dads out there.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mother's Day

I can say I had a wonderful Mother's Day. I worked at a festival, but my children came. It was not the best day for a festival and I don't think they are going to do it on Mother's Day next year.

I met a lot of great artists since we had a lot of time to talk. I love seeing how other people process their view of the world in art. I believe creativity is one of the attributes we share we our own creator. It shows so clearly in the work that people do.
There was a nice mix of kinds of art, from glass blower, painter, hand bag specialist. seamstress, several jewelry makers, a Mary Kay consultant, a chocolate company, Pizza and sandwich shop, a crochet artist, a quilter and many more. Not enough traffic though.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Time vs Organization

I seem to always feel like I don't have enough time. It looks like I have the same number of hours as everyone else but they seem to get more done. Everything I have read and watched on HGTV points to the fact that organization would save me time. When will I find enough time to organize. Don't get me wrong I organize a little then get back to work. Then I work a lot until it gets the best of me then I stop and organize a little.

I have found that when I am working I don't have time to organize and clean. The elves nor the fairies come in to surprise me during the night. And when I am cleaning and organizing the work time is ticking away. I want to balance the two but haven't worked that out yet. I'm open for suggestions.

I've been watching the way I work and that has helped a lot. I know that I need little baskets for projects that I am currently working on. If I pack it way away I forget about it. It becomes "out of site-out of mind." Then I need places for short term put aside, where I can see them but not put completely away. I have plenty of places where I have put things away and some days I open them and say oh I forgot I had this. I can use it now.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Still Working

I think I had forgotten how time consuming it was to remove all that paper. The first time I made this quilt, I cut the center rectangles and strips to measurements given in the book. It turned out a little wavy and I liked that hand made-free looking effect. Someone asked me did I paper piece it. They knew very well I had not paper pieced it by the curves in my lines. But it kind of got under my skin. I wondered if they asked that to insinuate that I should have. So I figured I'd just try it with the paper and see.
I absolutely loved it! The paper piecing fed right into my need for control. Now I'm wondering if I will ever make a free flowing house quilt again. It doesn't matter though, because I make so many other free flowing quilts. It is okay to feed my control issues some times. Isn't it?

Monday, March 15, 2010

How Long It Takes

"How long does it take to make that one?" the inquisitive viewer asks. It seems that question infuriates some artists and gives others a chance to express themselves even more. The artists that it infuriates perceive the viewer to be questioning their price. I guess I am naive in that I take a question for what it is and try not to read my own prejudices into it. I have found that most people who ask this question genuinely have no idea of what goes into making a piece of art, whether it is a quilt, oil painting, or a novel. I think they are trying to understand what goes on inside a mind that can sit for hours and hours and come out of it with something cohesive. They seem to be wondering if their square thoughts can fit into that round artist hole.
Then they say, "You must be really patient." Patience is definitely a big part of it but so much more goes into making it happen. At first I want to tell them how long I thought about the project before I started it. But there is not really a record of that. I didn't jot down how many mornings I woke up thinking about the best way to compose the piece or how long I thought about what colors I wanted to use to make just the right statement. I realize that part of it can't be contained in a number like two hours in all over three years. What sense would that make to the viewer?
Then I want to say, I searched the fabric stores and online quilts shops for just the right fabric. How much time? Can I say 5 hours online when I really bought fabric for 3 other quilts at the same time? Can I say 8 hours of quilt shop and fabric store shopping even when I bought fabric for other projects at the same time? No don't say that. Maybe this doesn't count.
Finally, colors right, thoughts right, pattern/design right and I get down to cutting. Is this one that I cut all at once or is this one that I cut a little at a time so that I could think about how it is evolving? Sometimes I have thought it through and when I start to work one of the fabrics just doesn't work. I have to re-think. How much time does it take to replace that fabric that didn't work. Eventually, I have something to sew and I dive right in. This is when how long it takes really gets dicey. It gets down to how the artist works.
I work about 8 hours a day. Some people only work on weekends. Others work at night after they get off work, while some early birds get up at the crack of dawn before the family starts to stir and work in the peacefulness of early morning. Then there are the night people who work late into the night.
I started a quilt of row houses in January. I have tried all different kinds of things to get an accurate count on the time I put into this quilt. I decided to do one house a day. First of all it took more than 8 hours to do one house. That got boring after about the second day and I gave myself a break and worked on something else for a while. Then I tried to do 1 1/2 houses a week, which would have given me 6 houses in one month. I got on a roll. I made one house, then it turned into two, then the next day I started on another one and I ended up making 5 in one week. By the end of that week the monotony got the best of me. I found myself thinking about another project. One quilter emailed about the fact that she only works on one project at a time. I thought, how wonderful. I tried that once and it almost drove me crazy.
So now it is March and I have 16 houses done. Three months of actual sewing time and only two more houses to go. I don't know how long it is going to take to make that border or how long the quilting will take. I know it will take me about 4 hours to bind and close it. So I round the time up when someone asks, "how long did that quilt take?" I'm standing there going through all of that in my mind. They are probably wondering why I am hesitating. Don't I know how long it takes. I say about 4 or 5 months. They seem happy at that and I know in my heart that the actual time cannot be measured. It is truly a labor of love.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Simple Play

I want to say that Simple Play won the viewers choice hands down. Almost everyone commented on the two little girls chasing the butterflies. When I was making it, I had this image in mind but was not sure how well it would translate to the fabric. As it started to come to life, it awakened a childhood memory. I don't usually have an attachment to my quilts, but I knew I wanted to keep this one. It immediately became the subject of one of my quilt stories.

I received so many wonderful comments about the video. My favorite was: "I love them all. I looked at the video 4 times and each time I got a feeling of awe and surprise. Your quilts are so alive and have so much character that I can feel the wonderful spirit (your spirit and love) that is in each one of them. -The Michael Jackson quilt was very touching, this is a awesome way to honor his memory. -Crossing Over has an optical illusion affect, when I first looked at it and heard you say it was called Crossing Over, I saw a pair of hands floating. When I looked the second time I could see the butterfly. -Whimsical gave me a warm feeling, like I knew a secret or something no one else knows. -I could see the free spirit in Lady Butterfly. -In my minds eye, I could see the two little girls running, hear the laughter and fell the breeze of a spring day. I can go on and on, I am so sorry I missed the exhibit." RM, Atlanta, GA
I'd like to thank everyone that offered constructive criticism. I will definitely use that in the next video. If you haven't seen it yet, please be my guest:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Resplendent Video on Youtube

I am so excited that my new video about the Resplendent Exhibition is up on YouTube. The exhibition opened November 16 and went through January 31, 2010. The exhibit featured butterflies. We tried to explore butterflies from many different points of view. Janice did a series called Georgia Grown which focused on three butterflies that are indigenous to Georgia. Elaine created a beaded curtain of a flower garden visited by butterflies. Janice and I dabbled into fantasy as we made our own species of butterflies with Whimsy, Metamorphosis and The Search Is On. I'm trying to figure out which quilt I like the best. Maybe you can help me by posting your favorite in the comments section after you view the video.
We had storytelling and many private showings. I wanted to share the exhibit with all of the people that could not make it. Elaine, Janice and I enjoyed the exhibit thoroughly and now you can see my portion of it on

Click: http:/

Friday, January 22, 2010

Time Flies

I was very surprised to see that I haven't written on here since November. The holidays came in and swept me away literally. We had a great Thanksgiving holiday with family but I was feeling a little under the weather. I had that cough that didn't want to go away. It was really draining and took all my energy away. When I have days when I don't even want to sew, I know I am sick.

Then the end of the year holidays were here before I knew it. We had a great time for Kwanzaa. Umoja night was held at the Atrium on Sweet Auburn and it was wonderful for me. We had the opportunity to show our exhibit that night. We had a big celebration at our home for Kujichagulia and the rest of the week was family time.

The Resplendent Exhibition has been extended through January, which is very exciting. Friday, January 29, the Atrium presents Beverly "Guitar" Watkins at 6:30pm. You can still see the exhibit and enjoy at evening of music, fun, and relaxation. You may RSVP at (404) 524-7921 or call for additional information.