quiltcon 2017 workshops

———

Posted in Community, Events and Workshops, The Modern Quilt | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

make do with me

feedsack quilts found in the dump

As I mentioned in my last post, one of my goals during my four month residency at Recology San Francisco, is to pay careful attention to the experience, process, practice, and mindset of making do, so that I can write, blog, post, start a conversation, and get the word out about it.

Why? Because it is an important legacy that we as makers, especially quilt makers, know something about through the work of our great grandmothers, mothers, and aunts mostly and in realms outside of home craft from our grandfathers and fathers too. The earliest roots of patchwork in this country comes from making do with what’s been left over, with the less worn patches from old clothing, feed sacks, mill remnants and tailors’ scraps.

I see quilt making as a model for understanding and reclaiming this legacy of making do with what’s at hand and left behind –as opposed to constantly consuming and buying more– at a critical time of cultural, economic, and environmental transition. And most importantly, it’s not a burden to make do, but the opposite, its a liberating choice to live simply and make new in more meaningful, imaginative and intimate ways with less.

Explore with me, through your own creative endeavors, whether it be patchwork quilting, home keeping, cooking, building, fixing, problem solving, painting, drawing, gardening, music making, parenting, relationships and more.

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “making do?” What does it mean to make do in life and in your craft? In what ways do you make do on a regular basis? How do you understand making do as an aspect of improvising? How does it support your creative flow? … or not? Making do means different things to different people. How does your economic heritage effect your perspective?

Some of you have already been sharing making do stories of grandmothers using pantyhose for batting, questions about the trash stream, tips on making design walls with old felt lined tablecloths, thoughts of awe and dismay by what’s being thrown away. Keep it coming! Let’s have a conversation!

Make Do with Sherri Lynn Wood

Subscribe to my blog (top right sidebar), follow me on Instagram, or like my artist page on Facebook to join the conversation and share your experiences, memories, stories, thoughts, tips and question in the comments. AND please tag your friends to help me get the word out!

I believe quilting with meaningful materials that carry narratives from our daily lives, quilting with more attention to social issues, and an interest in flexible patterns are some of the new frontiers for modern quilters. What do you think?

More on that and my take on modern quilting trends in future posts!

 

Posted in Community | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

june mandala / making do begins

clock in break room at RecologyI snapped my June Mandala last November while waiting for a final interview for one of the six artist-in-residence openings at Recology San Francisco in the coming year. My heart was beating a mile a minute. I had 15 minutes to pitch my project to a room full of arts professionals…

I want to explore the experience of “making do” through the model of improvisational patchwork. My premise is that in a culture where we have an abundance of choice, we are actually deprived of the simplicity of choice.

Making do with what we have at hand ignites the imagination. When we have less to choose from, when we intentionally limit our choices, we are freed from being overwhelmed, and are able to find flow. Which is rejuvenating! Making do with what comes our way, requires that we excercise our ingenuity in order to satisfy ourselves. This accomplishment is a state of gratitude, a rhythm of attention, that feeds the spirit and restores the soul.

The Recology AIR Program in San Francisco, has been around for 25+ years, and it is a crucible for making do. Two artists at a time are each given a studio for four months and full access to the PDRA (public disposal and recycle area) to scavenge materials for making their art.

Recology PDRA in San Francisco

At the end of the four months there is a public exhibition of finished work, made with 99% with materials from the dump.  So if you are a painter, you have to scavenge surfaces, and canvas, and paints and even basic tools like brushes and painting utensils, to make your paintings.  Wouldn’t this make a great reality tv show!

Sherri-PDRAmaterials

I will be improvising a series of quilts and sculptures from clothing and other materials during my Recology residency, but that’s not all. Equally important I will be on a four month quest to explore the nature of making do, by writing/blogging in depth about my surprises and discoveries both internal and external.  I will be posting on IG about my finds, how they inspire me, and what I make out of them.

I started the residency on June 1. My final exhibition will be September 23-24 & 27. My time of Making Do  at the dump begins!

 

Follow the story on daintytime.net, Facebook and/or Instagram.

Posted in Creative Living | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

diy beauty / rose water

DIY- distilled rosewater

Rose water is a simple luxury, a button jar blessing, that’s easy to make. While visiting my friend Lisa, last month, we scavenged wild rose petals on a beach at the southern tip Whidbey Island. Although I’m not in this habit, she turned me onto to her passion for scavenging and collecting, and making luxury out of what’s readily available in our environment.

Wild rose petals barely bloom for more than a day or two before they drop to the ground, but while they are in season, they bloom new and abunantly every day. No one would miss the two bags of petals we freely gathered on the beach.

DIY- distilled rosewater

Rose water can be made out of any kind of rose petals, wild or cultivated. Simply gather a bag full and place them in a large pot with a metal handled lid. You can use a steamer or not. In the center of the pot elevate a jar until it rises above the petals and is a few inches below the rim.  Fill the bottom of the pot with water till the rose petal are partially covered.

DIY- distilling rosewater

Place the lid upside down so the metal handle is facing inwards and centered an inch or so above the stacked jar or glass. Bring the water to a gentle boil or simmer. Place ice in on top of the inverted rim. This will cause the steam rising from the roses to condense on the lid and drip into the jar.

It doesn’t take long, perhaps 15 minutes of boiling before the jar fills. Turn the heat off, leave the pot in place and allow the whole contraption to cool another 15 minutes before lifting the lid.

DIY- distilled rosewater

You will find your your glass running over with the distilled rosewater. It will be clear and very fragrant. Jar it up and use it as a skin toner in the morning and night after washing your face and before applying lotion. You will be amazed by it’s gentle glowing effect!

There will also be fragrant rose colored water in the bottom of the pot that can be saved and used in the bath.

DIY- wildrose facial mask

While the rose petals are still warm, lay down and cover your face, or the face of your friend with them and allow to dry for another 15 before removing, for a wild rose face mask treatment to rival anything you might experience at a luxury day spa.

Posted in Making | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

buttons / freddy freckles

freddyfreckles-drawingFreddy Freckles is so funny after taking a bath. He doesn’t like it but is resigned. Afterwards he shakes and squirms, nips and twitches, and eventually snuggles in, warm, damp and sweet. And then he sighs like an old man.

Freddy is #1 A++ in my button jar of blessing!

Posted in Creative Living | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

may mandala / gathering resources

a gathering of buttons

 

May 24

I barely have buttons to gather! Gathering resources symbolized by the thrift of buttons? What was I thinking when I created my May mandala. Like Bernie Sanders fans, I’m feeling the “burn” of an out of whack economy. I’m also feeling the thrift! “Burnthrift” could be the name of a down & out yet resourceful character roaming the west for work during the depression era, or the saga of the last rent-controlled city apartment buildings staving off eviction and gentrification, or a declining 19th Century country estate in a gothic novel. Making Do that’s what it’s all about…. do the hokey pokey and you turn your self around!

Screenshot 2016-05-28 22.17.21

When did housewives begin saving buttons? One of my few early memories of my great grandmother’s home was napping in her sewing room, when I was still young enough to be required to take naps. Her sewing room may have been a converted porch. It was in the back of the house near the rail road tracks, in Crown Point, Indiana. There was a twin bed and a sewing machine in the narrow room, with a door out to the yard, and windows all around. I remember hearing the train pass, and sorting through her large jar of colorful buttons on the chenille covered bed –each one seemingly unique yet all the same in their function.

drawing of a button

Buttons are like blessings. Each bright button a joy savored for it’s orphaned beauty and potential usefulness, even though it’s no longer a part of a team. Sometimes there are whole families of 3 or 4, 8 or more, and even pairs of two in the button jar,  separated by a universe of strangers, odd balls, solos, and almost matches.

button

My residency at Recology, the San Francisco dump, starts next week on June 1, and I’m gathering my spiritual resources – my buttons – my blessings. Although blessings are all around me, they seem thin when I’m in a state of mind that can’t receive them due to transition, worries of success, and the business of keeping the toilet paper dry.  Yet it’s this very thinness, when resources seem sparse, that the value of each singular button and simple blessing becomes clear.

I hope to write about these buttons –brief snapshots of the sparkling and unexpected resources that bring joy, curiosity, awe and rest into my life –that appear during my residency of making do at the dump. You’re invited to blog along with me and share links in the comments to the blessings in your button jar, or on Instagram – #ButtonJarBlessings

Posted in The Modern Quilt | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

see you at quiltcon east

teaching_at_quiltcon_2017_v2I’m thrilled and honored to be teaching and speaking at Quiltcon East, in beautifully gothic Savannah Georgia in 2017.

This is the fourth Quiltcon I’ve had the pleasure to participate as an instructor. It delights me to look over this year’s list of speakers and teachers and see so many new faces I’m curious about like Season Evans and Heidi Parks; and familiar return “stars” who’s work I’ve loved for years from afar like Maura Ambrose, Denyse Schmidt, Carolyn Friedlander, Heather Jones, and Angela Walters;  familiar faces who I also admire, and who are on the teaching team for the first time —Anna Boenish, Chawne Kimber, Tara Faughnan;  faces who I’ve worked with on other projects, like Amy Friend, Latifah Saafir, and Rossie Hutchinson, who all have quilts featured in the Improv Handbook, and Shruti Dandecar and Nancy Purvis who I’ve met in past Quiltcon workshops; and even Quiltcon organizer extraordinaire, Heather Grant! Plus so many more talented makers and designers.

This is a great line up! And Savannah is an amazing southern city. AND I will be debuting three new, never before taught improv workshops, as well as a new lecture — to be revealed when the schedule is announced on June 1. I hope to see you there!

 

Posted in Community, Events and Workshops | Tagged , | 9 Comments

april mandala / harmony

Harmony ready to be made - yarn

April 21….

I was riding into SF today on the BART and there was one seat open next to a pretty rough homeless man who was sleeping. He seemed like he was sick, more than passed out. Apparently no one else wanted to sit next to him, because this was towards the end of the morning rush and there were people standing in the car when I boarded. Anyway I sat down next to him and a few minutes into the ride he re-positioned in his sleep and leaned into me, resting his head against my shoulder and his arm into my side. People on the train were staring (at least those not completely absorbed by their phones) and perhaps wondering how I would react – what would happen. I just sat there like he was an intimate friend or child and let him be. Some people smiled at me awkwardly in sympathy or empathy. The incredibly emotional thing was that it felt good, the human touch and warmth, and of being of comfort. I thought it must have been a comfort to him, but I definitely felt comfort, and intense need. I’m still shaken by it. I don’t know what to make of it. I’ve been tearing up all day.

Being in harmony with others is about finding common ground with those who are different, or have different goals and needs than our own. The harmony of different voices and notes blending can be sublime. At first glance it all seems quite “nice.” On a deeper level living in harmony with others, especially in a diverse, high density city with huge disparities in wealth, like the San Francisco Bay area, can be disturbing, shocking, unexpected, and even more cathartic than I ever imagined.

Posted in Creativity | Tagged | 30 Comments

Get Your Curve On 2-day workshop, May 21-22 Seattle Area

Calling all quilters and improvisers looking for an intense immersion in ruler-free curve composition and technique. Your opportunity is here! If you are near the Seattle area don’t miss this 2-day improv quilting workshop with curves, Saturday and Sunday, May 21-22, hosted by the Bainbridge Island Modern Quilt Guild (register here). We will be covering it all –layered curves, wedge curves and bias strip piecing on the curve. Enjoy the luxury of two full days to put it all together in one magnificent composition!

Posted in Community, Events and Workshops, The Modern Quilt | 2 Comments

March 2016 Mandala: Percolating

coffee pot mandala

Be careful what you intend! When I shot the image for this mandala on January 3, 2016 to represent my creative intention for the month of March, I wasn’t thinking too deeply about what it means to percolate.

Let’s talk about SIMULTANEOUS transformation by fire, water and air! Think of what those poor humble and raw coffee grounds have to go through before becoming a delicious cup of well brewed coffee. There is intense heat penetrating to their core to melt away rigidity and unlock hidden flavor, there is air literally blasting away to create space for the grounds to expand and release, and water rushing through to purify and rinse the flavor home.

Well that’s been my month so far! March is turning out to be a month of percolating solitude and clearing of stuck subtle energies, mental and emotional habits. Percolation hasn’t been a picnic, it’s still going on, and yet I have hope that this trifecta of purification will add up to a delicious, fresh brew when it’s over.

What’s percolating in your creative life this month?

Posted in Craft Therapy, Mantras for Creativity, My Creative Process | Tagged | 1 Comment

February 2016 Mandala ~ Branching Fragrantly from my Center

February 2016 Mandala - branching fragrantly from my center

When setting visual intentions for my monthly 2016 Mandalas I knew February would be a month of reaching out and engaging with not just a few close friends but with hundreds of people – including students, blog friends, readers, fans, strangers, and industry movers and shakers! I knew I would be teaching quite a bit, including at Quiltcon which begins in five days.

I’m pretty good at public speaking, because it’s easy for me to talk about what I know and love. However, interacting with lots of people, reaching out while keeping my sense of integrity  —branching fragrantly from my center and sharing my essence authentically is more of a challenge. When I ask myself why this is, I pin it on my highly developed critical mind gone haywire. My judgmental mind, the one that compares my self to others and to unrealistic expectations of myself, keeps me separated, leaves me insecure, and stops my creative flow… It’s my YES BUT mind.

In my work, I easily get stuck in this perpetually dissatisfied judgmental mind because it keeps me safe. In fact my YES BUT’s often arise because I’m on the edge of exploring new territory. Either I chicken out and I’m dissatisfied, or I do something so new and uncomfortable I can’t tell if it’s “right” or “good” so I feel dissatisfied. When stuck in the YES BUTS the only way I’ve found to step outside my judgmental mind is to invoke my sense of curiosity and begin saying YES AND… Affirm and build.

So now when I’m meeting people, and I notice my mind making comparative judgements… I’m thinner than they are… I’m heavier than they are… I wish I had their sense of style… my quilts aren’t as good OR my quilts are better than theirs… and I become stuck in the judgmental spiral,  judging myself for being judgmental, guess my key to escape?

That’s right… CURIOSITY!

When my YES BUT judgmental mind starts to kick in, I immediately switch on my curious mind… I wonder about the hardships of living on the street? I wonder what it would be like to start over in a new country… I wonder why someone is shy? or outgoing?  I wonder about a quilter’s unique memories of color that make her quilt shine? The focus is not about me, I can relax, and all of a sudden I’m in the midst of an interesting world of possibility, opportunity, and new relationships.

When I get nervous meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends, I quiet my judgmental mind, find my curiosity, listen to what they are saying, and do my best to respond with a YES AND….

Let’s get curious together!

I’m looking forward to meeting many of you at Quiltcon next week. I am teaching Thursday, Friday, and Sunday but I will be on the floor all day Saturday, enjoying the quilts, vendors, and the community. Please introduce yourselves and say hi if you see me. I will also be signing copies of The Improv Handbook at the Sew Modern Booth (#215 ) on Saturday from 3-5 pm.

Improv Handbook at Quiltcon

Save travels!

Posted in Community, Craft Therapy, The Modern Quilt | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

DIY ~ Inset Sewing Machine Table

inset sewing machine table

As an improvisor I really enjoy rigging up my sewing space and equipment to suit my particular needs.

Here is how I inset my Juki TL-98E home sewing machine into a table and lined it with old rotary cutting mats. Be sure to pay attention to the features of your machine and adapt these general guidelines accordingly.

Materials and Tools:

  • 6′ pressboard table
  • Drill
  • Handsaw or jigsaw
  • A scrap piece of sturdy board for the dropped bottom that your machine will rest on.
  • 4 large, strong screws and bolts long enough to drop through the table, the board and the length of the machine resting below the table surface.
  • Gorilla Glue or similar adhesive
  • Old cutting mats
  • Sharp utility scissors

underside-view-of-my-diy-sewing-machine-table-as-requested-makingdo-sewingtools-figuringitout_24364710919_oHow to:

  • Position your machine on top of a 6’foot pressboard folding table at a distance that is comfortable for you to work at but also allows room for the knee lift to clear the metal edge of the table underneath (if you have a Juki or a machine with a knee lift), and then use a sharpie to mark around the footprint of the machine. I placed my machine approximately 6″ from the edge.
  • Drill a hole inside the footprint large enough to slip in the tip of a handsaw or jigsaw, and then saw around the marked footprint.
  • Saw out a small curve on the back end of the sewing machine placement, to allow the cords to rise up through the table and plug into the machine. Since I could access the bobbin case without difficulty on my Juki, it wasn’t necessary to saw out any other locations around the footprint except for the cords.
  • Cut a board a few inches larger than the footprint of your machine and placed it over the hole you just cut. Drill four holes large enough for through the board and the table at each corner. large enough to fit the large bolts I bought to create a drop floor for the machine to rest on.
  • Dig around the drilled holes to drop the bolts flush on the table.
  • Cut up old self-healing cutting mats to fit around the machine, using sharp utility scissors or some other instrument to cut through the mats.
  • Carefully glue in place using Gorilla Glue (or similar) to bond the mats to the tabletop surface. Place books or other heavy objects on the surface for 24 hours until the glue sets.

birdseye-view-of-inset-sewing-machine-table-lined-with-pieced-together-old-cutting-mats-makingdo-sewingtools-diy_24625020051_o

I love having the cutting mat surrounding my machine, since I’m often cutting my patchwork as I sew. Having the glued down cutting mats removes the hassle of the mat sliding around as I go back and forth from cutting to patching.

However I do not use my Juki for machine quilting so I can not attest to the smoothness of the surface for machine quilting. You may prefer to have the inset machine table without the cutting mat lining.

Remember these are general DO-IT-YOURSELF guidelines, that could and should be adapted to fit your particular machine and needs!

Posted in Tools, Tips, Tutorials | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

January 2016 Mandala ~ Simplicity Tools Basics

2016 Mandalas - Sherri Lynn WoodAt the beginning of the new year, I was invited to participate in a Facebook Group, 2016 New Year Mandalas, with the goal of creating 12 mandalas in 12 days, one for each of the upcoming months of 2016. I decided to take the challenge of setting a visual intention for the months of of the year ahead. I also hope to blog each month about my intentions, as a way of tracking the year ahead.

January Mandala - Simplicity Basics Tools

It’s actually February 1, and I am post-dating this blog entry for January 31! This meshes with my January intention of Simplicity Tools Basics – in that I’m in desperate need of a simpler less technology ridden life. Usually January is my quietest month but not this year. The month is already over and it was a blur of activity. Much of my time and efforts being c0nsumed by social media and promotional activities. Actually I yearn for the good old days of 2010 when the humble blog post was all that was required to share my thoughts with a broader community.

I haven’t figured out how to balance my email and social media responsibilities with my creative life, but limits have to be set. I’m struggling to keep up with it all. Although I enjoy being a part of the communities on Facebook and Instagram, I miss the format of writing more extensively about my life and creative process on my blog. So with January already gone is it ludicrous to proclaim that I want to get back to blogging?

To do more blogging I have to cut back on other social media activities. I removed the Facebook App from my phone. I’m also inviting members of the vibrant Improv Handbook Facebook Group to step into leadership rolls. I have to cut down my direct presence there but will be stopping in occasionally to read and comment.

BTW – the FB group is currently working through each of the scores in The Improv Handbook For Modern Quilters in 2016. If you are interested in getting supportive feedback with your improv projects – be they scores from the book or your own explorations please jump in and join the very active conversation!

Along with these changes in my Facebook interactions, I’m only responding to email inquiries on Thursdays. I hope this structure will help but I’m not sure. Right now I’m terribly behind on my email correspondence.

I’m deeply dissatisfied about how technology eats into my real, present, and embodied life. Life is too short to be on the computer all the time. For this reason I sigh when I see these old fashioned hand stitching tools – a quilting and an embroidery hoop. Although I’ve taken some steps in January to allow more space for life off screen, I’m not sure if it’s enough.

But I will do my best! My January 2016 mandala reminds me to keep working for more simplicity, and basics in my life, relationships, living spaces, and in my creative work as well.

Posted in Blogging, Community, Mantras for Creativity, My Creative Process, Personal Heritage | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Remembering 2015

Screenshot 2015-10-18 22.07.08It was a big year…

Maybe my biggest ever regarding my professional life. The release of my first book, The Improv Handbook For Modern Quilters, in April, and the subsequent embrace of it’s message in the community of quilt makers, surpassed my hopes for it’s success. Almost everyday I receive an email or a shout out on Instagram or Facebook from a reader about how much the book has resonated and inspired them.

It may seem like fan stuff from an outsider, but to me each note of appreciation from someone touches me deeply and gives me a sense of meaning and belonging. I feel like a geek admitting this, but sometimes when I’m feeling deeply alone these little messages from strangers light up the darkness and show me a way out of any pitiful false stories I may be dwelling in.

Many thanks to all who have embraced The Improv Handbook and it’s message. If you feel so inclined I encourage you to review The Improv Handbook on Amazon and/or on Goodreads. I hope the book will continue to go out into the world as more and more people are curious to explore improvisation and flexible pattern patchwork.

Meeting quilt makers on the road…

A big part of the book release was touring across the country, and meeting quilt makers everywhere! Thanks to all of the people who helped me organize the tour including Modern Quilt Guild leaders in San Diego, Los Angeles, Oakland/Berkeley, Asheville, Denver, Lincoln/Omaha, Raleigh/Durham, Winston-Salem, Cincinnati, and St. George. Thanks to all of the organization and venues who hosted me – Stitch ModernSew ModernRosie’s Calico CupboardUnited Church of Chapel HillThimble PleasuresSewingly YoursMalaprops BookstoreSewn StudiosInternational Quilt Study Center and MuseumFancy Tiger, and Scrap Apple Quilts.

Teaching at Quiltcon…

Even though I’d been quilting for over 20 years when I started this blog in 2010, I was an outsider to the online Modern Quilt movement. I have to thank the national Modern Quilt Guild for continuing to invite me to be on their roster of teachers at QuiltCon. Being invited to teach as a virtual unknown in 2013, was a huge opportunity for me, to be invited back in 2015, 2016, and 2017 is an honor. It has allowed me to meet quilt makers from all over the country and abroad. This in turn has led to opportunities to teach at individual guilds and special conferences.

And guilds across the country…

I am so thankful to all the guilds and guild leaders who have believed in me and have hosted me so graciously in 2015. It is one of the most satisfying parts of my life, being the teacher! Being trusted by each student to lead and guide the creative unfolding of their workshop experience, and watching people grow and embrace their authentic expression feeds me on a deep level. I always feel so connected to my wonderful students and the progress they make in their work. Thank you to all the organizer and students at Chicago MQG, Camp Stitch-a-lot, Aunt Mary’s Quilt Shop, the Seattle MQG, the Fidalgo Island Quilters, Kansas City MQG, A Gathering of Stitches, New Hampshire MQG, SeaCoast MQG, LAMQG, San Diego MQG, Triangle MQG, FrontRange MQG, Quilting By The Lake, Bay Area MQG, Pittsburgh MQG, Quilt Guild of the Villages, Mt. Tam Quilt Guild, and the Quilt Guild of Contra Costra County!

Find out where I’m teaching and speaking in 2016! I still have openings in the fall of 2016, and 2017 – if your guild or organization is interested check out my workshop offerings!

Interviews, magazines, blogs and podcasts…

improv handbook in SF ChronicleAnother favorite part of the book release was being interviewed for so many amazing podcasts, blogs, and magazines. Each interviewer had a unique approach to asking questions, and I so enjoyed getting to know each of the interviewers, and the opportunity to share my perspective.

Sew LeWitt…

Sherri Lynn Wood - Sew LeWitt - Adobe Books San Francisco

Just check it out!

Watching you all grow, and doing it YOUR way!

Finally a shout out to all of the amazing improvisors out there -the first timers and the more experienced. I’ve been so impressed watching so many quilt makers jump in and doing their own thing. Beginning with The Improv Handbook Test Quilters – I’m reading reviews of my book saying that many folks like the test quilts in the book better than mine! I think that’s awesome. I was blown away that their were 18 Improv Handbook test quilts represented at QuiltCon 2015!

And I’ve been blown away by the level of discussion and participation, and of course the amazing quilts being posted daily in The Improv Handbook Facebook Group by the 1400+ members. You’ve got to check this out! If you are up for some improv in 2016 members of the FB Group will be working through the book’s scores one month at a time beginning in January.

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 3.14.50 PM

Also sew along with Rachel Hauser at Stitched in Color as she continues to work through the scores in The Improv Handbook. Her insights on the process and her outcomes are surprising and inspiring.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

What an amazing year of meeting quilt makers where they live. My friendships and colleagues have multiplied! I’ve been blessed beyond belief and I’m looking forward to exploring 2016 with you! THANK YOU!

Sherri Lynn Wood

Posted in Community, The Modern Quilt | Tagged | 1 Comment

Jerrod Allen Nickelson (1977-2013)

These three quilts were made from the clothing of Jerrod Allen Nickelson, one for each of his three children. With the help of their mother, each child chose specific items that best carried their memory of and relationship to him. What satisfied me most about the process and the outcome is how each quilt evolved uniquely by simply responding to the clothes they picked. The quilts are machine pieced, and hand quilted.

Since 2002 I have been working with people through collaboration, consultation and commission to make improvised quilts from the clothing and materials of everyday life. This practice developed into an active, hands-on, therapeutic process for working through life transitions and bereavement, that I call Passage Quilting. For more information see the Passage Quilting Blog Archive, and Passage Quilting tutorial.

Posted in Passage Quilting | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Patchwork Sketchbook ~ Shipping Pallets

shipping pallets

Actually I’m having a dispute with the shipping pallet lot across from my building because they are blocking most of the street with an overflow of pallets. Even so, the stacked pallets themselves are quite fascinating as a patchwork pattern possibility.

imagination pallets

All it takes is a little imagination to translate these stacked shipping pallets into a score, a flexible pattern, using ruler free strip piecing techniques.  It’s on my to do list!

sketchbook-palates

I invite you to share your Patchwork Sketches for variable patterns with the Improv Handbook Facebook Group. What’s inspiring your quilts these days?

Posted in Sketchbook | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Sew LeWitt at Adobe Books Backroom Gallery

Adobe Books San FranciscoI had a great time facilitating the first of a series of patchwork performance installations — Score For Floating Squares (à la Sew LeWitt) — at Adobe Books, September 6-27, 2015.

Score For Floating Squares (a la Sew Lewitt)Sew Lewitt by Sherri Lynn WoodSurprised and delighted at how much people who had never sewn before enjoyed making patchwork. Discovered how much fun it was to hang out with the good folks at Adobe Books and sew with whoever showed up. Satisfied with the outcome!  In case you are wondering I will be filling in the blank negative spaces with white fabric to make one giant quilt. Next steps… fingers crossed for the next in the series, Score For Strings (à la Sew LeWitt). Thanks to all of the folks at Adobe Books and to all the people who showed up to be a part of it! It was even highlighted on ArtSlant as one of North America’s Must-See Exhibitions this Fall!

Follow me on Instagram!

Sew LeWitt Project Sponsors

projectsponsors-Kaufman-Fairfield

Special thanks to Robert Kaufman Fabrics for providing over 60 yards of vibrant Kona Cottons in 80 different colors and to Fairfield World for providing a roll of their luscious Nature-fil wool batting to line the gallery walls.

Posted in Art and Social Practice, Community, The Modern Quilt | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Quilt Local by Heather Jones

quilt local by heather jones
I like the premise behind Heather Jone’s latest book, Quilt Local.  I believe wholeheartedly in observing and abstracting patterns from your environment. Pattern abstraction is fundamental to quilt making and is rooted in the American frontier. All of the classic patchwork blocks arose from abstraction of the everyday — Log Cabin, Turkey Tracks, Rail Fence, Drunkard’s Path…

22157908384_0834c0c241_z
Quilt Local features fixed patterns and emphasizes Heather’s considered design process, color theory, and implementation. I love the introductions to each of her projects, where you see an image of the object and her sketch together.

22791844081_7c4e3b8b3a_o

Quilt Local is a lovely book for people prone to designing and planning and who are interested in modernizing or inventing new fixed patterns, but it’s premise also speaks to improvisors, who like to explore flexible patterns.

I always encourage students of improv to look at their environment for inspiration, not other people’s quilts. For this reason I think Quilt Local is a great cross over book that  speaks to both fixed and flexible pattern traditions in quilt making.

When I first started my blog I had a series of weekly posts on Inspiration Sundays, under the category of Sketchbook. Each post featured an image of an object in my environment and an abstracted pattern sketch of that object.  This sketchbook post inspired by zinias, led to developing the wedge-curve technique…

and this sketchbook post inspired by onions, led to the bias-strip piecing on the curve technique, both of which are featured in The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters by the same wonderful publisher of Heather’s book, STC Craft / Abrams.

Abstracting patterns from your environment is an extremely important practice to undertake and Heather’s book leads by example, along with practical tips on how to do it. Here are a few of the other objects and places that surround Heather and inspired the over 40 projects featured in Quilt Local. Aren’t you curious to see the quilts they inspired???

22157893264_13273dbb28_b

Another thing I appreciate about quilts in Quilt Local is Heather’s simple and bold use of scale. I notice that a majority of my students tend to piece medium to small. I often wonder why that is. Is it a comfort thing? Is it a gender thing? Is it something about not wanting to take up space? Is it a form of scarcity and a fear of wasting fabric? Is it a form of agoraphobia and a fear of large spaces? I’m curious about what you think…

from Quilt Local by Heather Jones

But I can tell you that Heather Jones isn’t afraid of working big and being surrounded by large spaces! Her work breathes space and simplicity. Her quilts unclutter the mind and restore the soul and so does her book! Bravo Heather!

Quilt Local has inspired me to resurrect my Sketchbook posts! Stay tuned….

And check out the rest of the Quilt Local Blog Tour:

10/6: STC Craft Blog

10/8: Robert Kaufman

10/9: Melanie Falick

10/10: Sew Mama Sew

10/11: Creative Bug

10/12: Plaid Portico

10/14: Modern Sewciety

10/16: Pellon

10/19: The Tattooed Quilter

10/21: Amy’s Creative Side

10/23: Diary of a Quilter

10/26: Film in the Fridge

10/28: Tall Grass Prairie Studio

10/29: Okan Arts

10/30: Kara Sews

11/2: Crimson Tate

11/4: Dainty Time

11/6: Nap Time Quilter

11/9: Spoonflower

11/11: Aurifil

11/13: A Gathering of Stitches

Posted in Reviews, The Modern Quilt | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Women In Espionage Trading Cards

I’ve previously shared the artwork of my very talented and dear friend Mary Yordy. She is an artist that inspires me, and she’s hit another home run with her Women In Espionage Trading Cards.

Women in Espionage Trading Cards by Mary Yordy

Mary has carefully researched and brilliantly brought to light and life a topic and cast of characters who have long been under the radar in popular culture, female spies. She has compiled images from the internet to create intriguing visual montages of each of her subjects. On the back of the trading cards she smartly summarizes the facts and hearsay on each of her notorious heroines or traitors as the case may be.

The intriguing lives and undercover work of  Valerie Plame, Julia Child, Emelia Earhart, and many more across time and nationality are included in this first limited artist edition set of sixteen. Women In Espionage Trading Cards – Brown Set  are available on Etsy. These unique trading cards would make an an empowering, and curiously entertaining holiday gift for all your feminist and left or right wing conspiracy theorist friends and relatives, as well as any preteen or teenage girls in your life.  Or you may want a set of your own! I’m always telling my improv patchwork comrades to go out there and make something dangerous. The courage of these risk taking women will inspire you.

I’m not the only one recommending them. See this review – “beautiful and compelling portraits” on BoingBoing. Get your WIP Brown Set today before they are all gone. Mary’s WIP Green Set, which will include Coco Chanel will be released in 2016. Did you know that Coco Chanel was a spy? Who do you think she worked for…?

Posted in Reviews | Tagged | 3 Comments

The Pope’s Message of Mercy

When the Iraq war began in 2003 I was angry and in grief. I thought of the word REPENT, with an urgency to turn away from war and towards peace. And I began the Prayer Banner project inspired in part by the famous 1843 Kentucky Coffin Quilt or Graveyard Quilt by Elizabeth Roseberry Mitchell. With the help and community of others I began stitching the names of dead soldiers and Iraqi civilians onto coffins to spell the word REPENT.

But after the Abu Ghraib torture photos were released in 2004 I fell to my knees in shame and thought of the word MERCY, and how only God’s love and forgiveness could redeem us now.

MERCY is a powerful word, and I’m heartened to hear that Pope Francis’ message to the world is about patience, and merciful forgiveness. MERCY resonates in my heart as I own the harshness with which I judge myself and others in countless minute ways every day. May I answer this internal judgement with compassion and acceptance instead!

In the past few days I have been reading a book by a Cardinal … Cardinal Kasper said that feeling mercy, that this word changes everything. This is the best thing we can feel: it changes the world. A little mercy makes the world less cold and more just. We need to understand properly this mercy of God, this merciful Father who is so patient. … Let us remember the Prophet Isaiah who says that even if our sins were scarlet, God’s love would make them white as snow. This mercy is beautiful.

— Pope Francis, Angelus on March 17, 2013

Prayer Banner: Mercy by Sherri Lynn Wood - detail

When Pope Francis links MERCY with God’s infinite patience with our many “mistakes and sins” I think of the unforgiving regiment of perfection and achievement that our culture as a whole aspires to in order to mask our vulnerability, and how I’m still caught up in it. I think of the slowness of stitching and how years of handwork have only begun instilling within me an understanding of patience and devotion, and I feel tender.

God’s patience has to call forth in us the courage to return to Him, however many mistakes and sins there may be in our life. … It is there, in the wounds of Jesus, that we are truly secure; there we encounter the boundless love of His heart. Thomas understood this. Saint Bernard goes on to ask: But what can I count on? My own merits? No, “My merit is God’s mercy. I am by no means lacking merits as long as He is rich in mercy. If the mercies of the Lord are manifold, I too will abound in merits.” This is important: the courage to trust in Jesus’ mercy, to trust in His patience, to seek refuge always in the wounds of His love.

— Pope Francis, Homily on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 7, 2013

Prayer Banner: Mercy by Sherri Lynn Wood - social practice

Lots of folks these days give Christianity and all organized religion a bad wrap and I can understand why. I agree with religions’ haters, that there is a large fraction of orthodox, fundamentalist and mainstream practitioners who have shown little MERCY, understanding, patience or acceptance to outsiders or insiders. Violent righteousness and sanctioned hypocrisy is a major problem with religion.

I’m heartened that Pope Francis is speaking out about the Christian message of MERCY known to us through the humble witness of Jesus’ life and actions, which radically envisioned a new notion of human justice. A justice that calls for MERCY and compassion, not an eye for an eye. It’s appropriate that the redemption of religious belief, begin from the inside out. And it’s long overdue.

I can’t say exactly why I felt the need to share this right now and be thankful, except that the Pope’s message of MERCY seems extraordinary, refreshing, restorative and true.

Posted in Art and Social Practice, Personal Heritage, The Modern Quilt | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments