Giraffes, Influences and a Village – All in 2018

Endangered Species, Nonseries Work

At a time in my life when I’m slowing down physically, I also seem to be slowing down artistically. Lately, I’ve found it takes me about 5 times longer to complete a project than it previously did. In the last year, I’ve added only 3 completed art quilts to my collection. Even so, I had a number of starts and stops and plenty of ideas. Here’s what was completed in 2018:

Illusive Giraffes (detail)

Illusive Giraffes (detail)

Illusive Giraffes” started out as two white strips on a black background. From the beginning, I thought they looked like giraffes, so I decided to pursue the pieces as part of my Endangered Species series. I overdyed, added pieces cut from a remnant of hand-dyed silk (given to me by a friend many years ago), machine-quilted the giraffes and embellished the piece with leaves cut from ribbon and attached with beads. My husband was pruning our fruit trees and contributed the hanging stick – literally a stick. From humble beginnings come a piece of art.



Influences” started as a challenge from Nancy Crow. I liked the initial piece but felt it needed refining. To make it more workable, I cut it apart. Yes, I used a rotary cutter and slashed it into sections. Some of these I slashed again, and even again, so that the piece had blocks (areas) of smaller improvisational piecing. Then I machine-quilted it with different thread colors. As I worked, it became my piece and not a workshop sample.

It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village

According to Wikipedia, “It takes a village to raise a child is an African proverb that means that an entire community of people must interact with children for those children to experience and grow in a safe and healthy environment.” My quilt “It Takes a Village” is so named because it took a community of quilters who over the years have donated scraps. I used their pieces, many already sewn together into strips, to create log cabin-like blocks. The triangle centers (leftover from a previous project) are roofs for houses, barns, a schoolhouse, a church, a bird house and even a houseboat – all detailed by the machine quilting.

Traveling quilts – where to see some of my work

Nonseries Work

Since my blog is in the going through dating process, here’s a catch you up on where you can see my quilts or check them out on other websites. My quilts travel more than do. Sometimes I wish I could follow them to places like Paducah, Houston, Chicago – even Brazil and Europe. But if I did, I wouldn’t be home to create my new art pieces.

“It’s Not Easy Being Green,” Melisse’s depiction of a red-eyed tree frog, has been traveling the US for three years in SAQA’s (Studio ArtQuilt Association) group show, Wild Fabrications 

“Match Sticks,” juried into another SAQA show “Metamorphosis,” debuted  in November at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. Metamorphosis’ next venues will be: Quilt Festival Chicago: March 28 – 30, 2019; AQS QuiltWeek, Grand Rapids, Michigan, from August 21-24, 2019; and at AQS QuiltWeek Fall Paducah, Kentucky, from September 11-14, 2019.

“Seeing the Light,” one of my (74” x 77”) largest art pieces, is at the Texas Quilt Museum in LaGrange, Texas, through December 23, 2018 in a group show sponsored by CQA (Contemporary Quilt/Art Assn)

“Sorok,” an older quilt & the first of my “chain” quilts, is at the Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum in LaConner, WA through January 31, 2019. It is part of Contemporãneo—Contemporary II,  The quilts on the second floor were from exhibitions that CQA sent to Brazil. The third floor are quilts for the same exhibitions created by Brazil artists.

Daughter Julie & I are working on a website at this address. Look for changes & updates in January (we hope!) 2019. In meantime have a wonderful holiday season.  Melisse

Danger Lurks in Your Studio!


Disclaimer: if stories about blood make you faint, read no further in this post. There is danger lurking in your studio … things that will jump out and attack you!
Most of us are familiar … sometimes too familiar … with the usual hazards … needles, scissors, rotary blades. If you haven’t been stabbed or cut at least once in creating a major work, you’re lucky. I have a friend who had to go to emergency because she sewed through her finger. And another had to leave a class early because she lopped off the end of her finger with a rotary blade. Ouch!
We all have gory stories about things that have happened in the course of creating our work. Well, I have one more, rather unique one to add to the collection. I was recently attacked by a plastic ruler – one of those 12 ½-inch clear (and expensive) ones by a well-known manufacture
First of all you have to keep in mind that this probably won’t happen to astute artists as you are, but I’m rather a Klotz. I also have very thin skin and have sheared it off of my leg before … and at an art quilt meeting, as some of you will remember.
The ruler was sitting on the floor propped up against one of the legs of my sewing table. I was using it to measure as I machine quilted a piece. I turned in my chair apparently catching my leg on the corner of the ruler and slashed a right angle cut on my leg. Blood all over the place, fortunately not on my work though for just a minute I was tempted to use it to stop the flow. I yelled for my husband. He was upstairs watching a ball game on TV, actually dozing. By the time he responded, there was blood in several places on my studio carpet, and the Kleenex box was empty.
Several bandages later my leg was bound, and I was propped up on the couch with it elevated and a non-lethal book to read. My leg is now in the process of healing. I’ve¬¬ even done some more quilting on the piece but with a cloth measuring tape instead of the plastic ruler.
The moral to this saga is:
Yes, we work with sharp tools;
Yes, we should be cautious; and
Yes, we should have a first aid kit in our studio … in addition to a large box of Kleenex.


25″h x 25″w

But on to safer things: If you’re in downtown Tacoma, be sure to stop by the American Art Company to see the Twelfth Northwest Contemporary Quilt Invitational which runs through October 4. The gallery, at 1126 Broadway Plaza is open Tuesday – Friday 10-5:30 and Saturday 10-5. There’s a favorite Thai restaurant right across the street. I have three pieces in the exhibit … Fandango, Walking Sticks and Stick with Me, the latter two from my Sticks series. You’ll also find work by other Pacific Northwest artists. You can also find information and photos from the show on the website –
Keep making art … and keep safe!