Tuesday, May 21, 2013

AQrivers and AQwater show traveling to East Carolina University in Greenville, NC

Hi Everyone!  I hope if you are in the eastern part of North Carolina you will stop in to the Gray Gallery at ECU to see the AQrivers and AQwater exhibits.  See below for more details:

RE: PAQA-South 2013 ARTQUILTSwater/ARTQUILTSrivers exhibits

After a successful and very well-received showing of the recent PAQA-South exhibits held earlier this year in Cary, NC, it is with great pride that we offer the opportunity to see these exceptional art quilts again:
East Carolina University School of Art and Design
 Wellington B. Gray Gallery
Greenville, NC
June 3 – 28, 2013
Artist reception: Friday, June 7, 2013 ~ 6 to 8pm

ARTQUILTSrivers was the brainchild of PAQA-South member Ann Flaherty, who worked with Taiwan Art Quilt Society's (TAQS) Lin Hsin-Chen, to create the exhibit. During the collaboration, six PAQA-South artists and six TAQS artists joined forces to create 12 individual art quilt panels depicting a flowing river which visually connects from one quilt to the next.

In conjunction with ARTQUILTSrivers, PAQA-South also developed a companion exhibit entitled ARTQUILTSwater. This 40-quilt exhibit is PAQA-South's 10th International Juried Show and displays artistic interpretations of the water theme created by fiber artists from all across the United States. Jurors Steven Silverleaf and Ann Harwell did an exceptional job selecting the innovative quilts for this visually pleasing exhibit.

If you were able to see the quilts in Cary earlier this year, we thank you for supporting PAQA-South's efforts in showcasing the talents of fiber artists.  If you haven't had the opportunity to see these exhibits, we encourage you to visit ECU this summer for the encore exhibit.

Thank you for your continued support of PAQA-South.

PAQA-South Exhibit Committee
Christine Hager-Braun, Chair
Jenny Williams
Nanette S. Zeller

PAQA– South is a non-profit 501(c)(3)corporation comprised of professional artists from across the southeastern United States who come together to promote innovative fiber and quilting arts. To learn more about PAQA-South, please visit our new website at www.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

A Couple of Days Late, but...

So I totally forgot on Monday that I was supposed to blog.  Thank God for my friend, Nanette Zeller at - she posts on Wednesday and that reminded me.  (And be sure to check out her blog!).

So my last few days have been spent in the studio, cleaning out the ephemera that I was hoarding - the flotsam and jetsam that mixed media artists hold onto because they will find a use for it.  They probably will, but I have to remind myself that I am not that kind of mixed media artist. I don't use corrugated card board as stamps - I don't even stamp!  I am not going to make paper out of the gazillion pieces of tissue paper I've saved from everyone's birthday/Christmas etc. gifts.

I had to look at what I actually do work with and remove all the stuff that I don't and know that I never will use. I created areas for each of the types of materials I do use: the beads have a spot, copper and tools and the things I have made with them have an area, the ephemera I do use such as yarns and pretty ribbons for my "eye candy" pieces have their area... I bought this tower of colorful drawers that Barb Forrester showed us in her blog hop - you can see it here (she has 2)  I put it together myself, so you know it's easy.  I suppose someone new walking into my studio today wouldn't have a clue that I'd just filled 2 trash bins with peripheral nonessentials - but I can feel it when I walk in there.  It feels organized and clean and I can't wait to get in there and work!

So after I return from my fun lunch today - I will be in the studio - working on my tree bark series. I haven't got a new photo because it pretty much looks the same... just adding more yarn around the copper. By next Monday I promise to have a new photo with new work!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you'll return next week!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Wow - going into the 4th week of reinspirement!

It's hard to believe that I've been retired over 3 weeks and am actually IN my reinspirement, for real. I still haven't really established the schedule I had planned in my head, but I'll get there.  The weather here in the southeast has been so weird - glorious a week ago and now back to the 60s with a hard, cold NE wind. All the dogwoods and azaleas are blooming and they are just beautiful.

Here is our backyard with the azaleas & dogwoods.

And the gorgeous Bleeding Hearts that keep growing and I can't seem to stop photographing. They are just amazing to me - since they've never gotten bigger than about 6" tall!

I don't like to do art quilt challenges that much anymore, except for the PAQA-South annual shows.  I am trying to focus more on creating a body of work that is cohesive and professional and will say "Jenny Williams did that".  Like with my new tree bark series.  But I've put the Tibetan Cherry tree bark aside for a bit because of a new challenge that really caught my attention.  Jamie Fingal and Leslie Tucker Jennison are doing a challenge for the International Quilt Festival that will go to Houston, Chicago & Long Beach.  The theme is "What's For Dinner?"  Every evening Jamie posts that on her FB and tells what they are having for dinner.  I started doing that a couple of years ago, too, and so many of my FB friends tell me how much they enjoy seeing what we're fixing.  So when I saw this challenge, Steve asked me how could I not do this?  It is US.  Then the question of what would I choose to "have for dinner" for the challenge.  My first thought was lobstah! because we have done lobster a lot and frequently post the photos of it.  But then we thought back to a couple of weeks ago when we had the paella party and thought how fun that could be. 

So - I'm starting with the paella.  Part of it will be free motion machine embroidered - heavily and solidly stitched with thread - and part will just be fabric.  The challenge to me is getting this to look like it's on my plate at the dinner table.

We'll see how it goes.  I might have to go back to the lobstah! I don't have much time - May 17th!  So I'd better get started!

Thanks for stopping by - and your comments are always appreciated.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Is it Monday already?

It's been a hectic couple of weeks and I nearly forgot to blog today.  Thanks to my friend Donna Gentry who chatted me a few minutes ago asking me what I am working on.

Well - I managed to get a little more done on the Tibetan Cherry Tree bark. It's slow going because it's very tedious hand stitching the yard down around the copper.  I using 4 strands of loose yarn and the fabric is quite thick in some spots and a bit hard on the arthritis.  But here is a photo of this phase -

I think it is looking like the macro photo.  I really like the effect, but as I said, it's a bit hard on the hands. I think there will be one more step when the yarn is finished, but not yet sure exactly what that will be.

The weather has been glorious in central North Carolina. Last week it was well up into the 80's, while parts of the northeast were getting heavy snow falls.  Unfathomable!  So yesterday we decided to start our vegetable garden.  We don't plant a gazillion things - we stick with our standard tomatoes, basil, and bell peppers.  We do have some herbs that overwinter, too. We use a lot of Roma tomatoes and basil with them, so we will plant 30 plants before all is said and done. Yes, we will use them.  But something odd always happens - around mid-summer the plants seem to shut down and we don't get as much fruit as you'd think. I think it's because we don't get enough sun. The trees have encrouched upon the garden and we no longer get 6-8 hours a day.  We'll see.

I also picked up a few Caladiums to stick in the shade garden.

And when I went over to look at the shade garden I was totally blown away by my Bleeding Hearts.  In previous years this plant has never gotten higher than 6"!  Yesterday it was already easily over a foot tall and lots of bleeding hearts blooming. I was dumbfounded!  And totally thrilled! I hope it continues to grow and bloom.

So - this has been my wonderful week - how is yours?
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 08, 2013

2nd Week of Retirement

I am really enjoying being retired.  I am being so lazy and taking my time getting things done.  It helps (oy) that I sprained my back a couple of weeks ago and can't really get started on all the house projects I have lined up - beginning with cleaning out the closets.  I did get one done in the hallway, but it proved to be too much to stand on a chair and pull things out from the top shelf and up and down on the chair....  so I'll wait until I can really do something worthwhile.

I am slowly working on my Tibetan Cherry Tree bark piece, but nothing different to show at this point. Stitching the copper down by hand is quite tedious and doesn't change the look of the piece yet. When I get to a new stage, I will post photos.

I am excited that I am able to have lunch with my birthday sister, Lynne, tomorrow. Haven't been able to share our birthdays in several years. Our birthdays are both this Thursday, April 11th. It will be fun to walk uptown and have a nice lunch together.

This past weekend the family threw me a Reinspirement Party! We had a blast and were so thankful that the weather was gorgeous. We were able to cook & sit outside all afternoon. Ian and Laurie prepared cockles as an appetizer (cockles are very small clams) and then Ian made a fantastic giant paella on the grill. Peter & Jill gave us this paella pan that's about 17" wide and has to be used on the grill, as it's way too large for the stove. We had shrimp, chorizo, cockles & rabbit in the paella with the rice. It was excellent, but next time there will be lots more seafood.

Here is Ian cooking the rabbit (Bugs, for short). 

And here Ian is adding the rice to the sofreto (sp?) - the sauce base for the good stuff.

And this is the fantastic beer that Laurie made me for my birthday! Jenny's Reinspired Ale!  She even went on my website and grabbed a picture of one of my art quilts - "Reeds". (The lines are the copper reeds).  Brewed by a real-life librarian. Thanks Laurie!  It was deelish!

So - I've had a very busy week and weekend and now taking it easy to let my back heal.  I am headed into the studio now to stitch more of the copper down.
Thanks for stopping by!  And don't forget to check out the Books for Sale page - they are all in excellent shape.

Monday, April 01, 2013


April 1, 2013.  My first day of retirement - or as I've coined it - my first day of reinspirement.  I promised several friends that I would begin blogging again today - and this is no April Fool's joke!  I hope to be able to blog one a week and now that I have Keri's camera (thanks Honey!) to upload photos (and once I figure out how to do that) I will have no excuse.

Had a great weekend with my nephew & his family and niece & her new husband and all of our kids & grand kids and my mother... big weekend full of fun and laughter. We let the little ones decorate the eggs first and when they were tired, the big girls took over.  We marbelized the eggs with nail polish. It was so easy and I wish I could credit the place I found it on Pinterest, but it seems to be gone.  Here is the result of our experimentation:
As I said - it was really easy and a lot of fun. I bought several cheap bottles of nail polish in pretty springy and Easter-y colors ($1 per bottle).  You fill a disposable cup with very warm, but not hot, water. Drip several different colors of nail polish onto the water (wear gloves!).  Dip the eggs into the nail polish & swirl around - the polish adheres to the eggs and makes a great marbelization on them.  These don't look as good some, but for our first try on top of the already dyed eggs, they came out very pretty.

My Reinspirement!
My reinspirement begins with creating a new series with my art quilts that were inspired from a photograph of tree bark. This has been quite a challenge, but after a lot of trial and error and angst, I made it work. I was hooked on inventing ways to incorporate my copper into these recreations of interesting tree barks. I can't post the 1st one, since it was done for a challenge that might be published, but I can share the current one in progress.

First - here is a photo of the tree of inspiration for this piece. It is a Tibetan Cherry or Paperbark Cherry tree. You can see the incredible bark on this tree. The fun thing is that it also peels and hangs, somewhat like a birch tree.

So here is where I am with this now:

The background is a piece of cotton that Laura McGrath from dyed for me. I used a clear organza in light yellow-ish/beigh as the background for the rings, overlaid with a batiked brown & reddish brown fabric for the background of the copper. I torched the copper to give it color and to soften it. I then put the strips of copper through my hand-held can opener to give it texture. I used a small hole punch to make holes in the copper so I can hand stitch the strips to the fabric. Here is where I stand today. I will give you more photos & updates as I progress.

Okay - that wasn't terribly painful, but it is long. I'll try to shorten these next time.
Thanks for checking in and I'd love comments on my work as I move along.

Til next time!