Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Member News - Madalene Murphy

The Abstract Artists Group of New England Presents:
August 30 - September 11, 2016

In Possibility

SAQA MA/RI member, Madalene Murphy, has artwork accepted into a group exhibition by the Abstract Artists Group of New England (AAGNE) which will open on August 30, 2016 at the Newburyport Art Association (NAA) Gallery in Newburyport, MA. In Possibility is one of five pieces that Madalene has in the exhibit. The Opening Reception will by held on Saturday, September 3, 2016 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at the NAA Gallery. There will be live jazz by Barbara London and Rick Kress. The reception is free and open to the public.

The exhibit will be on view from August 30 to September 11, 2016 at the NAA Gallery on 65 Water St. in Newburyport, MA. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. For more info call 978 465-8769.  

Monday, August 29, 2016

Member News - Salley Mavor

Intertwined – Needle Art of Salley Mavor
September 16 – October 30, 2016
at the Bristol Art Museum, Bristol, Rhode Island

Several of Salley Mavor's new embroidered bas-relief pieces will be shown at the Bristol Art Museum this fall, including Whiskers, Cover Up, Face Time, Birds of Beebe Woods and the premiere showing of DisplacedKatherine French, executive director of the Danforth Museum in Framingham, MA said of Salley's exhibit, “This is very sophisticated work. When you describe it, it sounds too precious, but the reaction is one of amazement. People hear about it and say, ‘Oh, that’s nice,’ but then they see it and are blown away.”


Of her new work Salley confides, "In a productive year, I can make 2 large (24″ x 30″) pieces, so it takes several years to accumulate enough work to hang together in a solo show. That’s why I’ve held off selling my new pieces. I just finished Displaced, which will have its premiere showing at the Bristol Art Museum in Rhode Island this fall." 

Birds of Beebe Woods

For those living in or near Rhode Island, the Bristol Art Museum encourages the creation, promotion and appreciation of the arts through exhibitions and educational opportunities. For those looking to visit from further afield, Bristol is a lovely town sprinkled with galleries, shops and eateries and is located on Rhode Island's East Bay not far from Newport. Salley's work can be found at the Abbott Low Gallery of the Bristol Art Museum in the main building located at 10 Wardwell St, Bristol, RI. The opening reception will be held on September 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Call (401) 253-4400 for more information and directions.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Member Profile: Suzanne Housley-Noonan

Suzanne Housley-Noonan is our latest member to be featured on the blog. You can see more of her work here and here www.etsy/shop/OceanStateHomeDecor.

If you would like to be featured please click here.

When did you start making art quilts?
I started making quilts when I was 15. My Aunt Nell would teach me how to sew on summer trips to Tennessee. My Father bought me an antique Singer sewing machine. All it had was a “straight stitch,” but I was on my way and have been sewing ever since. 

What type of work do you do - abstract/realist/representational...? What styles or techniques do you use?
My art lends itself to be a representation of the landscape and nature around us. I tend to represent a view of a familiar area or just a close up of nature.

How did you learn the techniques you use?
I studied textile design at RISD. I learned screen printing, painting, and the dyeing process using acid and natural dyes. My mentors were teachers, my Aunt Nell, and my father.

Do you have a favorite color palette?
My color palette usually starts with one color I like. Then I will choose a contrasting color or a shade darker or lighter. I have a good sense of what color formulas are made of. Primarily all colors have red, blue and yellow in them. The color scale may tip depending on the amount of pigment. I love all color pallets. I find myself using earth tone colors a lot. 


Are you working on a particular theme or series now? Tell us more about it.
I am working on a series of landscapes. Landscapes are a constant theme for me. Mostly New England wet lands and tall grassy fields. When I am stitching onto the fabric I try to depict the wind movement, and the lines in nature. Trees are also a passion of mine. I am fascinated by their strong foundation that roots itself into the earth.

How do you work? Give us some insight into your design process?
Photos are my starting point. I make several sketches with notes on colors and the types of fabric I need. I draw the design to scale on tracing paper twice, once for design and once to dismantle. Next, I go to my wonderful source of hand dyed and hand painted fabrics. If the fabric is not exactly what I am looking for I may re-dye or paint the fabrics again and again. I will also work with commercially made fabrics in conjunction with my hand dyed fabrics. I may also paint a landscape with oil paints on canvas before stitching the fabric.

Do you work on a single project at a time or do you work on multiple pieces at once?
I work on multiple pieces. There is never enough wall space or time. Many times I need to step away for a piece and come back to it later.

What are your sources of inspiration?
My inspiration is definitely landscape textures, color and beautiful nature everywhere. I love to go to museums and get inspired by the art around me. 

What is your studio like and when do you like to work?
I am so fortunate I have a nice studio space. I work in the third level of my home. I have two rooms connected. One I paint in and the other is a clean space for sewing. It makes me so happy when I step into my space every day.

What are your goals or aspirations for your art?
My goal is to share my work with others. I have sold many of my small pieces. Now I would love to sell my larger pieces or show them in galleries or quilt shows.

How are you making the most of your SAQA membership? Which aspects of the organization are you enjoying?
SAQA is a group filled with wonderful, talented people. I have been following you for many years and finally decided to join. I found the meetings to be very informative and enjoyable, having met many artists that share my passion for textiles.

Do you design your art with a purpose in mind (function of the piece, for a particular call for entry, a commission)? Tell us about that…
Since I joined SAQA I found myself designing for the call for entry. I always have multiple pieces under construction at once, and I continue to work on them until they are complete.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Currents Opening

A few photos of the "Currents" exhibit opening reception at the Brush Art Gallery and Studios.


Kudos to Christina Blais for landing her piece on the "Currents" poster! Catalogs are for sale at or

Before the crowd I took some pictures of the space. The food at the reception was exceptional. Much thanks to the Brush and it's members. On the wall: Urban Sprawl by Judy Ross, Little Drops of Water & Splash by Clara Nartey, and Beach Roses by Dawn Allen.

Deep Sea Currents by Rosemary Hoffenberg, Reunion by Nancy Turbitt, and Water Currents by Judy Ross

Showing in the front window are scenes from the beach by Ann Brauer (left) and Evening Rays on the Water & Morning Rays on the Water by Valerie Maser Flanagan

Two pieces, Crumbling Infrastructure and Global Warming: Living with Drought by Sandy Gregg

Riverbed by Valerie Maser Flanagan and Crown Point by Wen Redmond

Il Pleut by Christina Blais

Viewers look at Across The Pond by Janis Doucette. Work by Wen Redmond, Out Beyond and Tricia Purrington Deck, Magical Moment in the background

Members Wen Redmond and Jeanne Marklin

On the wall: Disturbance by Mary-Ellen Latino, Riverbed by Valerie Maser Flanagan and Crown Point by Wen Redmond. Members Sue Bleiweiss, husband Scott and Sue Polansky to the left.

A long view of the gallery and crowd; on the wall to the right, Drip and Sail by Sue Bleiweiss

On the wall: Shifting Reflections Baltimore Harbor by Judy Ross, Deep Sea Currents by Rosemary Hoffenberg, blocked from view is Reunion by Nancy Turbitt, Water Currents by Judy Ross and a bit of Reflection #2 by Gwyned Trefethen

On the wall: Out Beyond by Wen Redmond, Magical Moment by Tricia Purrington Deck and Across the Pond by Janis Doucette

A view of the studios at the Brush

Dawn Allen in front of her piece Beach Roses. Dawn is wearing a dress made from a digital print on fabric of her work created by Spoonflower.

"Currents" can be viewed at the Brush Art Gallery and Studios in Lowell, MA through September 18, 2016.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Profiles: Melanie Johnston & Joan Blade Johnson

                 Melanie Johnston                                                           Joan Blade Johnson

Melanie Johnston and Joan Blade Johnson are Connecticut based fiber artists who exhibit, lecture and teach together. They will be the focus and featured speakers at the SAQA MA/RI Regional Quarterly Meeting on August 7, 2016 at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum, 115 John St (2nd floor auditorium) in Lowell, MA from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm.

Of their art and working together, Melanie and Joan state, "Our art is expressed through textile and often incorporates our own dyed, printed or painted fabric. Each of us has our own distinctive style and preferred processes. Joan enjoys interpreting the natural world using non-traditional methods and materials. Melanie’s work often includes bold color and geometric shape. Through selling and exhibiting our art, we hope to introduce others to fiber art as fine art."

Melanie and Joan answered a few questions, giving us an introduction to themselves and their work.

When did you start working with fiber and why?
We both began as traditional quilters and were independently drawn to surface design and art quilting. Joan’s career was in nutrition and Melanie’s in health care. We met about six years ago and bonded as friends over our mutual love of fiber art. For the last five years, we have both been working as full time fiber artists.

What types of techniques do you like to use in the creation of your work?
We love creating our own fabric using dyeing, printing, painting, marbling and a variety of other surface design techniques. Joan loves photography and often incorporates her photos into her work.

What is your studio like and what is your working schedule like in your studio! Do you use a work wall or long arm?
For our sewing/construction activities we each have separate studios with large design walls and lots of storage. Additionally, Melanie has a large wet studio in her basement where a Handi-Quilter long-arm also resides. Tuesday mornings are dedicated to wet studio time. We work 8-16 hours per week on our own individual projects and another 2 or 3 hours getting together to work on planning for classes and other upcoming events.

What or who inspires you?
Joan is inspired by nature. Melanie is often inspired by abstract painters.

What benefits of SAQA do you find have helped you best in your development as an artist?
SAQA has been a wonderful resource for meeting amazing fiber artists, access to exhibits and resources for the business of fiber art.

How and why have you decided to work together in your teaching, lecturing etc.? What are the benefits of forming a partnership?
We believe the right business partner increases the likelihood of success and definitely makes life easier and more fun. We respect each other’s art and business skills, we motivate each other and we each have complementary strengths.

Do either of you have a degree in art, business, etc. and how has that helped you to achieve your goals as an artist?
Neither of us has a formal art or business degree but we have taken advantage of many art and business classes, groups and seminars. We also draw on our leadership and organizational skills acquired from our business careers. We both believe that knowing how to communicate well in a variety of media and how to set, measure and achieve goals has been critical to our success.

Melanie and Joan will be talking about their experience exhibiting and selling their fiber art. They have many recommendations for anyone thinking about or interested in taking this next step as a professional fiber artist.

For anyone reading this who is not a member of SAQA, the MA/RI Region of SAQA has an active group of about 130 members. Meetings are held around the two states quarterly. All members are invited to these meetings. Our next meeting, featuring speakers Melanie & Joan, will be held on Sunday, August 7, 2016 at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum on 115 John St, 2nd floor auditorium in Lowell, MA from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm. If you are considering joining SAQA and would like to attend this or another meeting as a guest, please leave a comment below and we will contact you with information. To join : SAQA 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Exhibition News

Lasting Impressions: Art Quilts 2016

August 13 to September 24, 2016

At the Whistler House Museum of Art

Dendrite by Betty Busby

All artists seek to make an impression on the viewer with their creations. For Lasting  Impressions, we have asked quilters to take that sentiment a step further and use stamps, dye, stitching, and other techniques to make their fabrics as striking as their designs. With quilts comprised of at least 50% handmade fabrics, this eclectic exhibition showcases the breadth of technique and style that can be achieved through the quilter's manipulation of medium. Juror's Choice, the Whistler Award, and Viewer's Choice prizes will be announced during the opening reception. Jurors for this exhibit are Mary Walter & Wen Redmond.

The Whistler House Museum of Art is located at 243 Worthen St, Lowell, MA. An Artist's Reception will be held on Saturday, August 13, 2016 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.