Sunday, 19 November 2017

Another teaser

Scraps left over from .....


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Escher Teaser

It's not finished yet, but I have been working on it for a few days. With mistakes or, differently put, minor changes of plan. But the overall design is developing nicely, and I thought I would show you all a picture of my discarded thread ends as a teaser.

Probably not a typical Escher colour, but a typical colour for me.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Hello 12by the dozen bloggers ,
I want to tell you about a project that will be happening next year . I belong to a quilt group in Auckland which has about 35 members. Every year we host a show where we show our work ,have a small marketing section and can sell quilts we no longer want . It is well known to quilters in Auckland and we get about 800 to 1000 viewers . This funds us for the following year and pays for tutoring.We have 2 retreats a year and at our last retreat I was chatting to our president about our blog and the'Artist Series'. She was very interested and asked me to bring what I had done so far to show the committee . I offered to hold a mini exhibition at next years show and they accepted , asking also that I give floor talks encouraging others to likewise blog with friends or other quilters.  I would like to tell people at the floor talks about all of you and can introduce you and show images of all of your work ( Hilary says she can help me with this). However if anyone is unhappy about this aspect I can simply show my pieces and talk only about the artists and briefly touch on the blog . However I would really like to do the former as we are a group and my pieces are just a part of the whole . One of the fascinations for me of being a member of this blog has been the amazing differences between us in the interpretations of the artists works . This is the richness of group work .
So... I would love to get your opinions /permission for this so that I can start preparations . The exhibition is in May 2018 and I know how time flies.
Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Hello everyone!

Hello everyone - it is great to join you. I am very much looking forward to seeing the Escher inspired work next month, and then jumping in with the next round.  Claire x

Thursday, 21 September 2017


  I went the other day to the Forney Library, which is a specialized art Library in Paris, and quite by chance found a copy of Jinny Beyer's  "Designing tessellations: the secrets of interlocking patterns", which I was able to borrow.  She explains the symmetry of them and how to make them. There is a section on Escher's complex designs and she shows how she thinks he developed some of them. It could be useful: I'm trying not to be at the last minute!


I have finally finished my Alex Janvier inspired quilt and am at last up to date. I was not inspired by one particular quilt, but by the lines and curves of his art in general. At first I tried marbling with shaving foam, but  I ended up with a mess that was unusable, so it was back to square one. I then tried playing about with swirling lines until I decided on this design, which I decided to try on a black background instead of a light coloured one. I drew the design then cut it apart and used it as a stencil with markal paintstiks. I then machine quilted the other swirls.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Does it have to be...

Not sure whether this is the right spot to ask this question - .... BUT: does it have to be a picture/painting by the artist that is used as an inspiration for a challenge, or could it be anything about the artist that sets off inspirational process?
Thanks for feedback/discussion of this item.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Escher Puzzle

Remembered I have a puzzle.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Artist for the next quarter is....

When we lived in The Netherlands, I was so impressed by many, many Dutch masters and their incredible works. The Hague is the home and studio of my favorite artist, M.C. Escher! I can't wait to see what you create!!

Friday, 1 September 2017

Birch Tree

    I love Klimt's patterns, but I find a lot of his paintings have too much pattern. It is a bit overwhelming, especially with all the gold. I much prefer his paintings of birch trees and decided to combine both pattern and a single birch tree when I discovered some Klimt inspired patterned fabrics in my stash that I bought quite a few years ago. I was intending to include leaves hanging down, using patterns from the fabric that seemed suitable. However they looked more like seaweed. I then thought of adding some smaller birch trunks in the background, but that did not look right either. So it is a single birch in winter. I would have posted this yesterday, but for the realisation that I couldn't finish it with a facing as I usually do, as the extra wadding that I put under the tree made that part too thick  to use this method. So instead of spending about an hour and a half in putting on a facing, I spent 6 1/2 hours sewing, unsewing and resewing (repeat several times!) a pieced binding as I did not want to put a 'frame ' round it with a single coloured binding. I will avoid doing a pieced binding in future! By the time I finished it, there was not enough light left to photograph it, so I left it until today. I had hoped to  finish my Janvier quilt yesterday too, but that will have to wait until next week now.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Three Portraits                                              

is the title of my quilt and my inspiration.

My aim was that you would never guess what my inspiration was, he,he.....

At first I looked for paintings with very little colour in them and I fell for these three wonderful portraits. I decided to incorporate them all by printing them onto fabric, add Heat and Bond then cut them in bits. I  selected the bits I wanted to use and made a pleasing arrangement (to me). Fused to a heavily quilted background, then added some machine stitching.
I meant to include no gold, but couldn’t resist, starting with the border.
Had it in my head for a long time, and it turned out exactly as I had hoped. 

Now bring on the next challenge!

Birch Forest

It was difficult at first to get away from all the gold and swirls which I really like.  My first attempt was not successful.  But then I started to look at his forest scenes and thought that this was way more up my alley. 

And then I remembered an exhibit of Wolf Kahn's work that I had seen and thought I would take a look at that style which I also admired.  So this is a bit of a combination of the two. 

Klimt's Beech Forest

Wolf Kahn

Klimt - Big Brother is watching you...

As I said already in my self-introduction, Klimt is not exactly one of my favorite artists. But I took the challenge, and I found a picture of one of his drawings in one of my art books. Didn't want to have to search for long, and if working with an unpreferred artist as inspiration, it doesn't really matter which painting you use, that was my thought.

"Die Hoffnung" - Hope

I was mostly attracted by the circles on the robe, and took it from there. I had printed a fabric when visiting Ali George in Australia in November 2015 and wanted to use this. Recently I have been including pieces of a reflector fabric in some of my work, and instead of gold, this seemed an appropriate substitue for Klimt's glitter. Add some found washers, start playing around...

Then I thought the oval just looked too solid, and cut out a piece that could be added in reverse.

I added some stitching, fixing the washers and applique the reflector fabric - and then I decided I might change the orientation of the whole thing.

When it's dark and the reflector fabric is 'active', it looks like this, and could be called "Big Brother is watching you."

Although I am not exactly sure of the title yet. And might change the orientation back, if persuaded. I just have the problem that I had to finish before I will be leaving for Birmingham and my trip to the US day after tomorrow and needed to get this up before I leave...

Talented group

The time has come for me to bid farewell to this amazingly talented group. I've truly had a lot of fun with the challenges but I need to step back. Special thanks to Hilary for leading the group and organizing such a memorable trip to England. I will continue to follow the blog and look forward to seeing all your wonderful creations. xoxo

Look Mum - no bling

Oh dear, what to do with Klimt whose work provides us with so many ready made quilting patterns!  I frequently use a free cut version of the cobblestone block shape that appears in his Portrait of Adele Bloch Bauer and I lingered there a while and also looked hard at the Three Ages of Woman but decided that I couldn't do that particular title justice.

Whilst endlessly scrolling through images and interpretations on the web and my own PC I remembered a photo that I had of an eraser print by Margaret Cooter.  The original was made from carved Staedtler Mars Erasers which are 23mm x 65mm to give you a sense of the scale.

The subdivided sections put me in mind of this section of 'The Kiss'' from which I took my colour palette. Whilst I like his use of grey here, when I tried to replicate this in fabric it seemed to flatten the piece so in the end I stuck with yellows, albeit some of them quite greyed, and black.

And yes, I totally avoided any suggestion of gold, hence the title. I'm not averse to a bit of bling but it just didn't seem necessary here:

Klimt Waterfall

How to make a Klimt inspired piece without it looking like a copy?  Not sure I have succeeded but I had a lot of fun trying. I have taken every piece of material in my stash (in all senses of the word) that has gold and silver in and used them - cotton fabric, plastic, metal mesh and sheet, foiling, lame, sheers - you name it.  Add to that buttons and crystals.

Background is a hand dye from Frieda Anderson which I have screened printed.  Shapes fused in place and machine stitched. Satin stitch around the edge.

Looking forward to the next artist.


I too found it difficult to concentrate on only one piece of  Klimt'w work so took pieces of several of his works.  I must say I enjoyed every moment of constructing my piece together with his designs, swirls and compositions.  He obviously loved the flowing russt coloured hair depicted in a lot of his models, so couldn't pass that one up.  He was also part of the art noveau movement and I tried to capture this as well in the piece.  All in all there were several pieces I enjoyed and incorporated as well as putting my own signature on this piece.  I have called her Clara.

Lucy in Gold

From the moment we decided to use artists as our inspiration, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I have done several Klimt-inspired pet portraits in the past and it was Lucy the pug's turn, so this was my opportunity. Lucy was painted and stitched and I had tremendous fun beading and adding some glitz, including an authentic Indian bindi on her forehead. The gold background fabric is shiny satin that I found in my collection, and the patterned fabric on the left, with applique enhancement is a piece of a Balenciaga scarf given to me by a friend. Every minute spent working on this piece was a joy.
Here is a detail shot.

These are my other Klimt-inspired pieces.
Daisy a la Klimt, my first one.
Darth a la Klimt, my second.
Chloe a la Klimt, my third.


Some of you heard I broke my wrist  three weeks ago, however as it was quite badly I needed surgery which sounds funny for me to say but it turned out to be a blessing as they inserted a plate, wrapped my arm up for 10 days, removed everything and said get on with it, use and exercise you arm. So from thinking it was going to be my turn to be late, voila, all done and dusted.

Last year visiting Hilary we took a drive south and one of our visits was to the Lost Gardens of Heligan which is where I have taken part of my inspiration from .....

She was called ' the mud lady'.

My colour palette I have taken from this piece of Klimt .....

Combining the two this is my piece ......

The background and tree fabrics were all from our local supplier, Amafu, which I had in my stash. The forest floor was my starting point.  I used thermofax screens to add details on the tree bark and the lower path fabric.  The lady was painted and appliqued onto the background.  Her hair is moulding paste, added right at the end, and painted.  I have no idea whether this will be permanent. Time will tell but it gave me what I wanted. Machine and hand quilted.  
To choose one painting of Klimts to interpret was impossible for me . I love so much of his work and so decided instead to look at the patterning and shapes which he used often in his paintings such as the square ,triangle and scrolls . He was also a prolific and popular portrait painter so how could I not include at least part of a woman's face showing a typical hairstyle and fashion of his day? Her face was painted with acrylic paint.Then thinking of his work, and because I am definitely drawn to his use of gold , I added in details painted with metallic paint. So here is my 'Woman in gold'!



My Klimt is postponed..

Despite "best laid plans", my world has been turned upside down at the moment because of the historic rains from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey that has affected so many people and homes in the Houston area. As I shared earlier, my daughter and her husband and her in-laws suffered flood damage. We have moved them all in with us and are actively helping them get their lives and homes back on track. My Klimt piece is 60% completed and I can see that I should be able to finish it within the next week...but at the moment my energies are directed to helping them.

I can't wait to see all the creations and I will announce our next artist on Friday, Sept. 1.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

The person to select the next artist, a big piece of news, and Uta's quilt in my possession

Drum roll please, the next person to select an artist is: VENETTA! So get your thinking cap on.
Hopefully everyone is nearly finished their Klimt pieces in preparation for the big reveal day next Thursday. Mine is finished! Has been for a while....

My big news is that I found out yesterday that Black Crow Blues
(75" x 55") has been selected for a very prestigious US show called Quilts=Art=Quilts at the Schweinforth Art Center in Auburn NY this fall. I am very very pleased.

And last, here is the piece by Uta called Tie a Yellow Ribbon, 2010, (12" x 12") that I bought on the SAQA annual auction in 2010.

This year's auction begins September 15 and the info is all here My piece is in Section 1. It is always fun to check out the artwork and see how the bidding goes.
Helena Scheffer

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Another Klimt teaser

August is a busy month here in bilsblog land so I too have been working on my Klimt challenge, though this hasn't been a struggle. Once I'd decided on the direction I wanted to take, this piece has virtually made itself. I must admit to not having considered the quilting as much as I should have before I began so I'm still auditioning different options to be able complete the piece by my self-imposed deadline! I give you my scraps -

"Look Mum - no gold!!!"

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Klimt teaser

I can't believe it - I have finished my piece - me, the queen of the last minute!!!  Anyway, I thought I'd give you a teaser of the fun I have been having.

Some of the fun bits and pieces I have been using

Of course there is gold and, and, and...


Friday, 7 July 2017

Self-introduction: Uta

My grandmother taught me how to knit when I was about five or six years old, and I have been involved with textiles ever since. Patchwork came into my life when I was an exchange student in High School in the US and saw the first patchwork pillows. After a period of self-taught traditional patterns (before the age of internet etc.) I turned to contemporary design in 1994: My mother’s cure for my then newly broken heart was an enrollment in a patchwork class. I started teaching patchwork classes and hand-dyeing my own fabrics a few years later, which has led to a small business with hand-dyed fabrics and a bi-monthly fabric club. I studied with Nancy Crow and other international teachers and am a member of SAQA, SDA, the German Patchwork Guild (currently the International Officer for the Guild) and QGBI. I write an English blog and a German blog (and I try to keep them different in topics).

When my son started drawing at the age of 2 ½ I soon realized that his drawings - completely standard for his development, nothing extraordinary - could be turned into inspiration for my work, and I began using his drawings as a starting point for my quilt designs. This led to a series “Play of Lines” which kept me busy for several years; two large quilts of mine from this series were exhibited in the “Color Improvisations” show curated by Nancy Crow.

Play of Lines X

Play of Lines VIII -
this quilt is now on its way to be traveling
with "Abstract and Geometric".

Other series of mine are called Shapes, and, most recently, text messages. Shapes began because I had an exhibition in a UNESCO World Heritage with two other quilters which was the first building designed and built by Walter Gropius, later founder of the famous Bauhaus Art School. So we had decided to use the basic geometric shapes, which figured prominently in Bauhaus teaching, as inspiration for the quilts that should be on display there.

Shapes 10

text messages turned into a series when SAQA issued a call for entries under that title. I had an idea right away, and then realized that I had already been working with text before. And it adds on to my former academic life, when I was a linguist. 

Promised Land 2015? (text messages 9)

I have had several solo exhibitions at international venues and been included in a number of juried traveling international exhibitions.

For the past three years it has been slightly harder to find enough and ample time for quilting as I got involved with voluntary work helping refugees in Germany, and for this past year I have been teaching German as a foreign language to a refugee class as well. This is a very important aspect of my life right now, that has also begun to enter my work. It will be interesting to see how it develops here - apart from how the refugee situation in Germany and Europe will develop in general.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Thank you for the invitation!

Hello everybody. Thank you very much for inviting me to become a member of this group. As I was taking my time to decide whether I was up to the challenge I had to figure out whether my hesitations were because of 'starting with Klimt', or other reasons. He's not my favorite artist - but one grows with the challenge. And I have decided to use the only picture of a painting by him that I could find in one of my art books, so I am all set in terms of inspiration.
I will come back and introduce myself within the next few days and am looking forward to being part of this group!

A new member!

I would like to welcome Uta Lenk from Germany to the group.  She is our new member.  Uta will stay with us even after Linda F has finished her new house and returns to the group.  We will then have a 'Baker's Dozen' which is 13.  Baker's Dozen

You can read all about Uta on her website  where you can see many of her beautiful quilts.  Her CV is very impressive.  Colleen - a fellow long arm quilter to keep you company!

I  am personally excited to have her on board and she will join us starting with Klimt.

Welcome, Uta.  I hope you enjoy your time with us as we travel through series 3 and the challenge of being inspired by artists chosen by our members.


Friday, 2 June 2017


My life has just taken an interesting turn, and I am going to give up most, if not all, of my quilting connections for the next couple of years.  Basically, Mick and I agreed last night to buy a house in Castle Donington, and to sell our two current houses.  We had been looking for a suitable property since February, but could barely dream we would get this one.  It's an old house, with some modern additions, and a huge garden, all within easy walking distance of the village centre.  It's the one house in the village that I've said I would love for the past 20 years, and this is the first time it's been available in 64 years!!

On the down side, there's lots of work to be done, both before and after the move, and I won't have neither any time nor a studio for quite some time, so I'm very sadly bidding farewell to this group.  I have loved being a member since it's start, and I'm particularly sad to be leaving just before you tackle Klimt.  I shall continue to follow the group, and I will soon have more spare bedrooms available should any of you need to place to stay in this area of the UK.

Totem Tree a la Janvier

Sorry folks, little people and life  - what can I say?

I found this challenge difficult to come up with something that wasn't a close copy of his work.  I thought about marbling (well done Colleen), I also wondered about dribbling paint/thickened dye!  But I kept coming back to the wonderful Haida style of depicting animals, long admired.

Instead of a totem pole I have a totem tree with the inspiration coming from this Janvier painting.  It seems to have struck a cord with others as well.

Janvier: Fort McMurray Series
In my Totem Tree the animals are digitized and embroidered by machine.  The were chosen to represent the sky, the earth and water.  The rest is fused applique and free machining.  I will add more twiddly bits when I have a moment.  You have no idea how much unpicking I had to do - nothing like being in a hurry and it being nearly midnight to put a spoke in the wheel!  I decided to put it aside and apologise for being late.  I'm not that happy with the end result - perhaps a bit more work on it will help...

Totem Tree

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Ancestral Home

It was so delightful to have Alex Janvier as our artist for this challenge. I was born and raised in Fort Benton, Montana, located 60 miles south of  Alberta, Canada. Learning about Native American Indian culture was part of my upbringing so I was thrilled to learn more about him as a living indigenous artist raised in my part of North America. His art is truly unique with his strong sense of color, movement and lines. I especially marveled at his expert inclusion of animal symbols that are identified with tribes of the Pacific Northwest. He so skillfully places these in his work, that one must study his art to see what and where he includes them.
 For my personal challenge, I began by using silk fusion pieces that I made in a workshop with Tamara Leberer at Quilt Adventures. I wanted to recreate the fluidity of color and shape of his work.  "Premier Joy" (shown below) was my inspiration piece. I purposely layered silk fused shapes to intersect in a similar manner but very simply. To highlight these shapes and intersections, I edged them with silk sari cords that were couched on with invisible thread. To further enhance the colors, I positioned my silk fusion rendition onto fabric that was dyed to look like pulled string art. To finish, I included images of an eagle, a fish and a feather done in the style of Indigenous symbols.


   Better late than never. I found this a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I thought I liked Hundertwasser's paintings until this challenge: I discovered that I only had an impression of them and I'd never really had a good look at them. I like his use of colour, but I dislike the way in which he used so many closely placed lines. However I really like his architectural designs and so I chose to interprete the Hundertwasser-haus in Vienna.


January Bloom

  I am always trilled to be introduced to artists I've never heard about. This was no exception and like others I struggled on how to interpreter this talented artist. I didn't look too much at the photo, just did my own thing. Rosemary came close to what I had in mind!

  I choose tread painting, my first try (and last?), I had such fun making it, but it was a chock that I could't make it flat with stretching and pressing. A useful lesson I think. So I had to double quilt the white background in order to "thame" it, to make it flat.

  Not quite what I had in mind, not quite pleased with it, but I learned a lot and getting out of your comfort zone is always mind bogging.

Alex Janvier: Abstraction Composition 1

January Bloom

January Bloom in need of "taming"