Saturday, August 29, 2015

and here's why you should consider hiring a professional photographer

I consider myself a pretty good amateur photographer and I've done a few posts here on this blog about photographing your own quilts.   I have a really nice Canon Rebel camera that I paid a fair amount for and I've invested in some lighting and other equipment so that I can photograph my own quilts.  Usually I work in bright, bold saturated colors which I've never had an issue photographing but recently I decided to create a piece using only black, white and gray.  When it was done I hung it up and photographed it over and over again adjusting the lighting each time trying to get a good shot:

(click these photos to enlarge)

and here's the detail shot I took:

These are not bad photographs  but what you don't really see in them is a lot of the surface texture and some of the windows are done in white but they don't quite pop enough.  There's also a bit of a color shift compared to what the quilt really looks like in person and between the full sized and the detail shot.  No matter what I did I just couldn't get the colors to read as true as I wanted and I couldn't get the white of the windows to contast with the gray enough.  So I decided to turn to a professional for help and made an appointment to have Joe Ofria photograph this quilt for me and here for comparison are the photos he took:

(click these photos to enlarge)
These two photographs by Joe Ofria

His photos are way better than mine and are a much truer representation of the colors in the quilt.  He was able to capture the surface texture and the contrast of the white is much more obvious in his photos.   I plan to submit this quilt for consideration for an exhibition and if it doesn't make the cut I won't have to wonder if it's because of the photo quality.

I highly recommend using Joe to photograph your quilts.  You'll find his website here with all of his contact information. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Invitation from SAQA Connecticut

An invitation to all members of SAQA MA/RI
Please join us for 


a SAQA Gathering and Art Exhibit 
by the CT Fiber Arts Collective

Inline image 1

DATE:  Saturday, September 12th, 2015
TIME:  10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
PLACE:  Phelps-Hatheway House 
55 South Main Street
Suffield, Connecticut 06078

Wear a Festive Hat & Garden Party Attire

Luncheon Tea Party* 

*advance reservations for $15 tea party/lunch is required 
*Menu: tea sandwiches, fruit salad, tea and cookies.

Prize for Best Hat 
Quilt Raffle
Gift Basket Raffle 
Fiber Art Exhibit 
House Tours 
Book Signing 
Gift Shop

DEADLINE To sign up for tea is TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8TH, 
Maximum number for tea party is 30.

Questions and to sign up for tea/lunch* Contact: Catherine Smith
(There is a car going from RI, seats for four passengers available, first come first serve. RSVP to Catherine first. Contact Nancy:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Arts on the Farm Exhibit



Photo by Robin Vieira

During the month of August, artists working in all media are invited to use Coggeshall Farm Museum as a place of inspiration. Set up your easels or tripods. Bring your notebooks, laptops or instruments. Find a quiet place of contemplation, or mingle with our interpreters who portray the lives of Rhode Island's 18th-century salt marsh farm families.

DISPLAY OR SELL YOUR WORK AT HARVEST FAIR You may submit a digital or hard copy of your visual, written or performance piece for consideration in Coggeshall’s Arts on the Farm Exhibit at our 2015 Harvest Fair on Sept. 19 and 20. Entries will be judged by a panel including representatives of the Bristol Art Museum and Bristol Art Night, artists identified by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and Coggeshall Farm Museum.

The deadline for submission is Friday, Sept. 4, at 5pm. Entries may be emailed to Cindy Elder or mailed/delivered to Coggeshall Farm Museum, 1 Colt Drive, Bristol, RI, 02809.  Performance artists may email Cindy to schedule a time to perform their piece if it is not possible to send a sound file. Winning artists will be invited to exhibit or perform their work at Harvest Fair and given the opportunity to offer their work for sale at the event.
Participating artists may pay regular admission when they visit Coggeshall Farm Museum (adult admission is $5 on weekdays, $7 on weekends) or purchase a membership, which provides free access to the farm during all regular open hours, Tuesday through Sunday, year-round (an individual membership is $25). There is no entry fee to submit work to the Arts on the Farm Exhibit.


We encourage artists from every medium to participate in Arts on the Farm. Our list of categories for inclusion in the Arts on the Farm Exhibit currently includes:
  • Traditional Crafts
  • Pottery and Sculpture
  • Fiber Arts
  • Photography
  • Painting
  • Drawing and Printmaking
  • Written Word
  • Spoken Word
  • Instrumental Music
  • Vocal Music
  • Dance
  • Film
 If your art form does not fit neatly into a category, please contact us as we are eager to expand our horizons! Coggeshall Farm Museum is located at 1 Colt Drive in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry at NEQM

From August 20 to October 31, 2015 the New England Quilt Museum will be featuring a retrospective exhibition of the work of Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry.

"Corona II: Solar Eclipse", 1989

Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry’s career as an innovative quiltmaker and award-winning fiber artist spans more than thirty years. The New England Quilt Museum is thrilled to bring together many of her iconic works for this exhibition, as well as her first quilt, works from her early experimental stages, and a sampling of her original fine art quilts that grace the walls of museums across the country. 

"Celebration #2", 2015 

Caryl's color work is stunning and her composition superb. Thoughtfully chosen images, often representing emotion or flights of fantasy, display an exuberant use of color and create the illusion of movement and light. The cosmos, dancers, feathers, and butterflies all evoke weightlessness and joy,while intimate portraits of her parents highlight the importance of family. The exhibition spans Caryl's career, her experimentation with various media, and the range of styles for which she is internationally recognized.

 There is a Curator's Reception & Gallery Talk on August 29, 2015 starting at 11:00 a.m. The program is free to members of the NE Quilt Museum and included in the price of admission for non members. The New England Quilt Museum is found at 18 Shattuck St., in Lowell, MA. Call 978 452-4207 for more information.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Member News - Wen Redmond

Wen Redmond is the August Artist of the Month at Exeter Fine Crafts in Exeter, New Hampshire. Working from a process that involves an ongoing dialogue between her chosen media, intuition and innovative fiber photography work, Wen creates stunning mixed media fiber art including scarves, encaustic works and her well-known, unique wall pieces.

     Merging photography, digital printing, collage, surface design and fiber, Wen creates one-of-a-kind works of art. An experienced quilter, Wen's work is often biographical or journalistic in nature as she works out of insight, inspiration, feeling and reactions to the outer world. She often works in layers, using non-traditional quilting techniques to transform scraps of fiber and photography into contemporary works of art. 

     Wen has created several signature techniques including: Holographic Images, Textured Photographs, Digital Fiber and Serendipity Collage Technique. She delights in creating dialogue, changing perspectives and perceptions of fiber. Lately, she has extended her media to create stunning encaustic works that combine fabrics and original photographic images with hot beeswax and resin.

     Wen has won numerous awards for her work, recently including: 2nd place at the Infinity Art Gallery, Best in Fiber at the 2012 League of NH Craftsmen, "Living with Crafts" exhibit, "Best in Two Dimensional Design," at a 2011 League of NH Craftsmen Show and was a Niche finalist three times. A juried member of the League of NH Craftsman for over 20 years, she has authored many articles that have been published in books and magazines, appeared on DVD workshops and been featured on Quilting Arts television. Wen's work can also be found in galleries, juried and solo art shows, internationally. 

  On Saturday, August 15th between 1 and 4 pm Wen will be at Exeter Fine Crafts to talk about her stunning work! Exeter Fine Crafts is located at 61 Water Street in downtown Exeter, New Hampshire. Open Monday through Saturday 10-5:30, or Sunday 12-4. Call (603) 778-8282 for more information.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Regional Meeting Recap

SAQA MA/RI members gathered together on Saturday, August 8 for a fantastic meeting centered on identifying and defining an artist's voice. Sue Bleiweiss led a panel of three successful and prolific professionals from our region in discussing what defines an artist's voice and what their personal journeys have been. Those artists were Mary Ellen Latino, Valerie Maser-Flanagan and Wen Redmond. Each artist not only talked about their own philosophies but brought examples of their work to further define their vision. Sue video taped part of the lecture in an attempt to bring this exciting discussion to those who could not make the meeting. You will find this videotape on the SAQA website with other SAQA webinar recordings.

Mary Ellen, Valerie, Wen & Sue

To recap some of the gems that these women gave us I will start with a quote Wen read by Anais Nin, "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." 

Development of voice takes a long time and it evolves with time. Wen was very philosophical about her thoughts on finding the artist's voice stating early that musing is the artist's voice and citing her early reading of the philosophical book Centering in Pottery, Poetry, and the Person by MC Richards as a clarifying point for her journey. Wen likes to let the materials speak to her. She uses journals filled with pictures she loves and her own writing to inspire her creativity. She also believes that writing a heartfelt artist statement is a good way to focus on what is important to you as an artist in finding your voice.

Valerie believes that doing a lot of work as opposed to looking at an individual expression is how you begin to develop a voice. How your pieces link together as a whole speak to what your voice is. Valerie talked about how after taking a class with Nancy Crow she came home to focus on her own work. Her drive to work steadily and with a strong commitment to working daily have paid off for her in a gradual, but steady development of her style. She talked about the power and emotional impact of seeing all of her work together in her first solo exhibition as she realized that it indeed had a clear voice.

Mary Ellen believes that focusing on your own creative imagery is what initiates an artist's voice. To this task she adds that passion and authenticity are very important. She draws on a wealth of life experiences in travel and a love of photography as well as other artist tools as she works. Mary Ellen has spent a good deal of time academically learning about art but stated that at one point the challenging thing was to take what she had learned and to make it her own. Her art has also been a way for her to heal and suggests that art can be a way to work through life experiences thus making a very personal statement. Mary Ellen also quoted a book by Dakota Mitchell, Finding Your Visual Voice: A Painter's Guide to Developing an Artistic Style, which would be a wonderful read for any artist trying to discover their voice.

A wealth of solid advice, suggestive thinking and great ideas for reflection were passed to the group. Thanks to Mary Ellen, Valerie and Wen for sharing their visions, ideas and processes to help us all understand the concept of what it means to have an artist's voice.

Members looking at Wen's, Mary Ellen's and Valerie's work

After lunch and announcements we wrapped up our meeting as we always do, by taking a look at what our colleagues are doing in a show and tell. Below are some of the photos.

Atara Halpern

Three by Valarie Poitier

Janis Doucette 

Alison Wilbur with a piece worked in Esterita Austin's class

DonnaJean Downer

Suzanne Munroe 

Two from Vicki Jensen

Patricia Faulkner

Madalene Murphy

Nancy Turbitt

Sue Bleiweiss (sorry I missed the right edge)

Sharyn Raiche with a portrait of her daughter

Dawn Allen with quilt business cards

Two from Nancy Belsky from New Hampshire

Ellen Fisher from New Hampshire

Our next meeting will be held at the Fuller Craft Museum, 455 Oak St. in Brockton, MA on Sunday, October 18 from 12-2pm. This meeting will coincide with the 2-5pm opening of the regional exhibition, Art As Quilt: Transitions in Contemporary Textile Media

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Member News - Carol Anne Grotrian

Shibori by Carol Anne Grotrian

On Saturday, August 15, as part of the Summer Celebration of New England Quilts, quilt artist and instructor, Carol Anne Grotrian will share how she has explored the ancient Japanese tradition of shibori dyeing in her quilted landscapes for over thirty years. Carol will be bringing many quilts for viewing and will employ a few digital images in her lecture. She will demonstrate how this forerunner to tie-dye creates fabric patterns that are especially beautiful when dyed in indigo. The program will be held at 11 am in the Conference Room at the National Park Visitor Center, 246 Market Street, Lowell, MA. This program is free, but space is limited so reserve a space by calling 978-452-4207, ext 16. This is one block from the New England Quilt Museum, where there are more quilts on exhibit.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Member News - Diane Franklin

Diane Franklin has work in four exhibits this summer and fall. Two of these exhibits have passed but two of them are opening in August.

Tropic Nights will be shown in the Out of the Blue exhibit at the Whistler Museum of Art, 243 Worthen St, in Lowell, MA. This exhibit celebrates the inspiration and new techniques that flow from a wellspring of creativity often called .....Out of the Blue. This exhibit runs from August 12 through September 19, 2015. The Artist Reception will be held Saturday, August 15th, from 2-4 pm.

Deep Waters, a newer piece, will be part of the fall Water Effect exhibition at the Schweinfurth Art Center, 205 Genesee St, in Auburn, NY. The exhibition will include 78 pieces by 57 different artists and features a range of mediums including painting, photography, sculpture, textiles and video. It runs from August 29 through October 18, 2015. The Artist Reception will be held on Friday, September 4, from 5-8pm and is free and open to the public.

For more information about Diane's work check out her website & blog:

Check out Diane's book, Dyeing Alchemy, which is a primer and workbook on Procion dyeing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Member Profile: Mary Ellen Latino

Seeking inspiration from nature, travel and personal experience, Mary Ellen Latino's art quilts invokes contemplation, emotion, while expressing a special moment in time.  

Mary Ellen began creating her own fabric in 1990. Using dyes and other surface design techniques, she seeks to create cloth full of energy and life. Her passion for fiber and photography now have merged to create cloth statements full of color, line, movement and images used in repetition or abstractly. Printed on silk charmeuse with its sumptuous luster, inner glow & glorious colors.

Her travels also impact her art. She says, "following a sojourn in Colombia I created Travel Muses to document my journey in such humble surroundings cradled by the Andes Mountains. Using silk & the processes of digital alchemy & shibori this series was born. La Manana celebrates the lone guinea fowl I encountered on an early morning walk. In El Burro I transform rock art ravaged by time & honor the donkey. Zulma Aurora pays homage to Mother Earth."

Her work has traveled around the country, exhibiting in galleries and museums across the country, including traveling SAQA exhibits in Europe, throughout New England, the New England Quilt Museum, along the east and west coasts.

Mary Ellen just returned from extended travels to Peru and undoubtedly we will enjoy the cloth inspired by experience.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Exhibition News: Out of the Blue

Whistler House Museum of Art


Out of the Blue:

Art Quilts 2015

Exhibition: August 12 - September 19, 2015. 
Opening Reception/ Awards Ceremony: Saturday, August 15, 2- 4 PM 

Koi by Sarah Ann Smith

As part of A Summer Celebration of New England Quilts, the Whistler House Museum of Art is pleased to present Out of the Blue: Art Quilts 2015 from August 12 through September 19, 2015.  The opening reception and award ceremony will take place in the Parker Gallery on Saturday, August 15, 2015 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public.  

The most commonly purchased color of materials and fabrics used when creating quilts is blue. "Out of the Blue" explores the inspiration of a new idea and technique using the color blue.  Many times artists stop "thinking", and then all of a sudden, out of the blue, ideas come to them. The art in this exhibition reveals how each quilt artist taps into their creative mind to find their inspiration and inventiveness. The exhibition was juried by quilt experts Mary Walter and Jenny Gilbert, both of Massachusetts.

Exhibiting artists are Deborah Babin, Betty Busby, Sandra Palmer Ciolino, Sue Colozzi, Nancy Crasco, Marcia DeCamp, Diane Franklin, Rita Hannafin, Lori Kay, Jill Kerttula, Cheryl Kessler, Mary-Ellen Latino, Valerie Maser-Flanagan, Wen Redmond, Stephanie Shore, Sarah Ann Smith, Bobbie Sullivan and Mary Walter.

Circle the Block 2 by Deborah Babin

Also on display in the Members Room will be the exhibit, "Interpreting Whistler's Aubrey House Palette" with works from the students in Mary Walter's quilting class. The students were asked to focus on color expression and theory to create a quilted wall hanging inspired by James McNeill Whistler's "Dining Room Color Study for the Aubrey House". 

The Whistler House Museum of Art is located on 243 Worthen Street in Lowell, Massachusetts. Hours of operation are Wednesday through Saturday from 11am to 4 pm.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Member Profile: Valerie Flanagan

Creative exploration develops in Valerie Flanagan's art quilts.   While she began as a traditional quilter, her transition to art quilt design goes back to 2009. The abstract work is linear, cut without the use of rulers and an intuitive piecing process. During the last five years, she dyes much of her own fabric herself. Usually working in a series, she says,
"I find this helpful because this pushes me to go deeper into the work and explore areas that may not have occurred to me initially.
Valerie enjoys the voyage of the entire art quilt process.
"I love to walk and may see something that interests me and then think about expressing it in an abstract manner. But mostly, I work on a design and in the end it takes on a more specific meaning."

"I dye my own fabric and while it is mostly solid, some have a slightly mottled look. I select three primary MX dyes and mix colors from these three primaries. There is something very seductive about putting plain white fabric in a dyebath and watching the color emerge. My work involves intricate piecing. Lines and shapes are freely cut without the use of a ruler and assembled on the design wall."

"Strip-piecing is one of my favorite techniques. Each fabric creation is a composition of its own--and then it is sliced up and recombined with other fabric compositions to create a new composition with surprising configurations . Do you have a favorite color palette: I love all colors, but if I you look at my work, I tend to gravitate towards warmer hues and neutrals."

"I begin with a general idea and a palette of colors. While I have a form in mind, most of the design happens on the wall. I cut lines and shapes without a ruler and either assemble the large pieces on the design wall or create smaller units that are then arranged on the design wall. If possible, I lay everything out on the design wall before I sew it together. This works well with a linear construction. When I am working with curved shapes, I sew as I add each element... My titles usually do not come until I am quilting the piece and reflecting on the experience and process."

Opening her studio door and entering with judgment free creation inspires Valerie.  
"My studio is in my home.I have a cozy room with a large design wall. All of my fabric is in the studio and I have a large table that my husband made to support my machine and provide a large surface for machine quilting. This works for me. I don't have to think about going to my studio--it is the place I head to as soon as I wake up. My windows overlook flower gardens and the bird feeders. It is a lovely environment to work in."

What a joy to find Valerie's inspiration expressed in her art.