Sunday, November 7, 2010

Art Quilt Tahoe Conference 2010

This blog entry is actually a conglomerate of entries made between Sunday, Nov 7 and Sunday, Nov 14, 2010, adding up to one chronicle with many stories and pictures from Art Quilt Tahoe 2010. Enjoy!

Sunday, Nov 7:  I haven't taught at Art Quilt Tahoe since 2008, so I missed their first year here at Zephyr Point, on the shoreline of Lake Tahoe, about 4 miles into Nevada, if you're coming from the southwest. I came yesterday, vis Las Vegas and Reno airports, on a very nice, mild day, and it was still sunny and nice when Judy and Velda picked me up, when I got off the South Tahoe Express shuttle at Lakeside, one of the resort hotels.  Above is my first photo here, of the view off the back deck of Judy and Walter's  cabin, where I spent my first night here.

Judy's writing a blog about this week on the AQT site right now, too.

This is the deck of Judy and Walter's Cabin #1. Jimmy, you would love it here!

Here's the front of the cabin, and you can sort of see the big front porch, with a huge pine tree growing up through the decking. Ah, so beautiful!!!!

The Zephyr Point center has some big buildings, where our classes and bedrooms will be, plus a lot of cabins set all around this wooded and hilly point. It's a Presbyterian conference center.

Mandy is Patty and Wes Hawkins' dog, and I love her.  I stayed with Patty and Wes last October in Estes Park, CO, just before I taught for Front Range Quilters, up in the Rockies in the Salvation Army Camp. Patty's another teacher here at AQT, and she and Wes drove here, so they could bring Mandy along. They're staying down the road, in another cabin complex, since dogs aren't allowed here.

It's been a tough weather day, starting during the night, but here's one end of the rainbow we spotted across the lake this morning. Never mind that most of the rainbow is hidden by big clouds. It's a promise of great things to come here at AQT this week! It's only Sunday!

I've been able to start this blog, because we've had to wait to get into our classrooms and bedrooms today, but we get to go in soon, in about a half hour! Meanwhile, many of us have been pouncing on people, as they arrive with their supplies and suitcases, to help them unload cars into our waiting area. We've just worked hard to help each other, and are so glad so many people are getting through the snowy passes safely and getting here!

Monday morning, Nov 8:  We got a little snow and ice overnight again, but the sky's clearing now! The last group of students and teachers arrived yesterday at suppertime, and we were all in, with the bedrooms and studios' nesting happening happily in the afternoon and evening.

Here are Wes and Patty Hawkins, last night after Patty gave her teacher/artist's lecture after dinner. Patty talked about her Japan Prize trip and showed us pix of the trip and the piece she's made about it (which got into Quilt National '11!)

This is my bedroom in the lovely, pretty new Tallac Center, here at Zephyr Point.  I have a huge picture  window looking out on Lake Tahoe, a nice computer area, my own snazzy bathroom, and it's all four doors down the hall from my classroom. Sweet!

Look at this view out my window:  A little dusting of snow on the ground, but bright blue sky above us! We're ready to make some art now!!!! Later you'll be able to recognize the wooden structure here, the Portal of Prayer, which you can see from my window.

Tuesday morning, Nov 9:  Yesterday my students started the day on our first class day, Monday. We got more Ott Lites later in the day - we have five of them now - and we're finally well lit for the rest of the week!  Meanwhile, check out our funky tree trunk lamps! Our room is sort of a den or nook, but we're learning to enjoy it. It even has its own 2 bathrooms, one of which is now our fancy ironing and heat setting room!

Here's Carol, starting to draw her piece with a permanent Rub-a-Dub marker on fabric, the first thing my students learn to enjoy doing, as they take a big leap of faith and bravery! No erasing or changing the marks you make on this fabric. You need to think like a little child and love your artmaking as it comes out!

Our theme yesterday (Monday) was a combo, due to a tie in the group's vote: Snow dragons. Here's Katie, starting to paint on her drawing.  We're using Jacquard Textile Colors fabric paints and boar bristle brushes to paint, after making drawings directly on fabric with fabric markers.  (In my classes, the students and I create a long list of theme ideas, and then each day we vote one in. You can choose to do the theme, or not, or to bend it to your needs. The themes tie us together and help each of us keep from getting stuck.)

We held up my "Kitchen Tarot Cafe" piece in progress, after I showed the class most of my sketches for this piece. Right now it's about 1/4th full of my diary writing with airpen, which I'll start teaching the class how to do today.

Erin's snow dragon piece is ready to be written on. Check out her cool cloud!

Pat's piece, Roses in the Snow, is about Lake Tahoe and the light snow we had yesterday morning, is also ready. She had told me she could NOT draw.  :)

Els van Baarle sits waiting to give her teacher's lecture last evening after supper. Els is from Holland and teaches dyeing fabrics for artworks. Her class had lots of things out on a clothesline yesterday morning already! A very busy, hardworking group!

Art Quilt Tahoe is off to a great start! Last night we had a shopping bazaar of participants' work, and then a movie: Pride and Prejudice. Some of my students went back and worked in the classroom, and Katie Fowler and I filled and prepared three airpens! Ready to go again! Off now for a morning walk! Bye. More later!

Wednesday, Nov 10, early AM:

My students had their one-on-one airpen lessons with me yesterday, Tuesday. Here's Janice getting going with it. She bought an airpen years ago, but got frustrated and set it aside. I'm so glad she decided to try again and take my class!

I spent about 15 to 20 minutes alone with each student, showing them how to hold and operate the airpen, a tool that combines writing with using paint, instead of ink, so that the lines are archival pigment marks. A small compressor pushes the paint out, so you don't have to squeeze the tool, so you save your hands.

The tricks to learn are how to control the paint thickness, fill and clean the airpen, and regulate the paint flow. I've developed my methods since 2002, and work hard to get my students feeling easy and competent with the airpen.

Pat made a second Lake Tahoe landscape on Tuesday. Our theme was Flowers, and she decided to make some water lilies, a la Monet, but on Lake Tahoe. Everyone worked on really neat pieces with the Flowers theme. Today I'll demonstrate my quilting techniques, which are so different from normal or even art quilt processes. And then the students can either keep painting or quilt one of their paintings from class. Tomorrow's theme is Peace.

Yesterday we teachers took off for supper on our own, at a Thai restaurant in South Lake Tahoe. From left are: me, Els van Baarle, Sue Benner, Katie Pasquini Masopust, Patty Hawkins, Velda Newman, and Libby Lehman. We missed the evening's adventure at Art Quilt Tahoe: going over to our vendor, Fabrics Unlimited's real store, 4 miles south of Zephyr Point. I heard it was a really nice happening and am sorry we missed it.

I came back and worked in my classroom studio with most of the students, into the late evening.

Thursday, Nov 11, late PM: We've cleaned up our studio and are sitting around talking. Here are yesterday's pix. Enjoy!

Above: Wednesday, after I demonstrated choosing a backing fabric at the onsite fabric store, to go with my painting, cutting out the batting and placing the painting on it and then on the backing fabric, and folding the backing up and around the painting to create the border, Janice, Katie, and Erin helped put safety pins into my demo piece, before I showed my students how I quilt my work in my "crazy grid" way.

This is my friend Kate (Kathie), who works for Judy and Walter, filling every role they don't do themselves, in creating Art Quilt Tahoe.

All of us from my class, except for Carol, went down to the Zephyr Point gift shop yesterday, to enjoy the lake a little more close up again. From left: me, Janice, Erin, Katie, and Pat. The shop is called Bear Necessities, due to the wild bear population at the center.

Also Wednesday afternoon, we visited all the other classrooms of Art Quilt Tahoe, so we could see each of the other students working on their projects. It was great to take that time out and enjoy the fresh air, walking all over the campus together.

Judy and Walter Bernard worked so very hard, with such sincere joy, giving us all a super great experience here at Lake Tahoe this year, as usual. This was our 12th AQT conference!

Last evening Fabienne and Julianna volunteered to show quilts for the after-dinner speaker, Christine Barnes, who'll teach at next year's AQT. These two really sweet women from Alaska also opened their cabin to the whole conference group, inviting us to drop by any evening for a social hour.

Last night (Wednesday) there was the first ever AQT PDQ Challenge contest. Each class had to elect one student to create a 12" fabric block from a bag of supplies given to each contestant. Our "team" was called Lucky's Ladies, and Katie was our artist, and Erin was her assistant. Katie had just over an hour to make her piece ...

Katie's piece "Under the Bus" won the contest! She won over 6 other hardworking contestants from the other classes, receiving a big gift certificate to the onsite vendor store, Fabrics Unlimited. Good egg that she is, Katie shared her prize with Erin.  We are so proud of the home team!

Sunday, Nov 14: I've been home now long enough to get these pix up from the last day of AQT (Thursday):

This is the Portal of Prayer, which my student Janice found the first morning at AQT. She went there every morning, and many of the rest of us were also very moved by its being there, on the shore of Lake Tahoe at Zephyr Point.

This is the inscription at the Portal of Prayer, which was dedicated in 1959 to Rev. Otis LeRoy Linn. We have a cat named Otis Earl Hawkins (named after a local grocery store chain hero), so I can dig it!

This is the view from the Portal of Prayer, the last moning of AQT 10, when  my student Erin took me there, before breakfast.

This is Erin there, wearing her funky hat that looks like it'd be yet another new variety of lichen, along with the several she was pointing out to me, growing at the Portal of Prayer, on the rocks.

Here's me at the Portal of Prayer, that Thursday morning, the last day of classes at Art Quilt Tahoe.

Sherry, who owns Fabrics Unlimited with her husband Jerry, sells some fabric paints to my students, just before class begins on the last day of AQT. Their shop is only a few miles from Zehpyr Point, and Sherry and Jerry saved us, by lending us 4 Ott Lites for our class, which was way too dim to work in, at first. They also sold my Kitchen Tarot decks during AQT, and those sold out! Yea!!!!!

Late on Thursday afternoon, we had our final show and tell, tho we'd had at least one every day in class, so we could all know what each other was thinking, planning, and doing, all week.

Janice had been working overtime on her class works. Here's her piece about her dog Otto, when he gets around to arriving at the Pearly Gates.

Here's Otto, as far as Janice got on him in class. He's a black lab, but I told her I'd never made any of my own black labs (Lucy, Elvira, and Hattie) black, because you can't read the writing on them then. So Otto became a yellow lab, just to illustrate this piece well.

Janice chose the runner-up theme on Tuesday, siblings, rather than flowers. Here are her two sisters, and her brother's floating head. I love the dresses and hats!

Janice got her Monday piece, on the Dragons in the Snow theme, done enough to quilt it on Thursday. I love the dragon's breath as curliqued words!

Pat explains her pieces to the rest of the class, during the last show and tell. We were all deeply moved by her outpouring of creativity in this class.
She ended up making three pieces, all about Lake Tahoe, as she would see it, either for real or in her mind.

Here's her first Lake Tahoe painting, on the theme of Snow Dragons, but she did the Roses in the Snow, as seen outside of her dorm room window. Pat had told us at the start of the class, that she can't draw or paint.  :)

This is Pat's second piece, on the theme of flowers, as Water Lilies on Lake Tahoe, ala Monet and Susan Shie.  :)

This is Pat's peace theme piece about the Portal of Prayer at Zehpyr Point. All three of her paintings are the same size, fat quarters, and will have the same backing fabric of dark, mossy green from Sherry and Jerry's store at AQT.

Katie Fowler, who won the PDQ Challenge for our Lucky's Ladies team, told us she really learned how to let her creativity FLOW during that short working period. Therefore, her new name is FLOW, and here she is, showing us her four days' worth of work, besides the Under the Bus PDQ piece. Check out her very wide Peace Train above the other paintings. It was all in line drawing at that time (pre-painting), for her third day Peace theme work.

this is what Flow ended up with, as her quilted painting, as her Snow Dragon, the painting she'd begun on the first day.

Next Carol showed us her works from the week. She'd been in a car wreck on her way to AQT, in the snowstorm on her 65th birthday, but she landed on her feet and worked hard and with a positive attitude all week!

Here's Carol's first piece from the week, including the story of the wreck, which ended up totaling her Honda, the Quiltmobile. She and her friend, both AQT students, were both bruised, but they were able to attend their classes.

The flower theme of the second day brought out Carol's thoughts about flowers she's grown in her garden, in a really sunny, vibrant painting that defied the cold and wintry weather we were having at the start of the week at Tahoe!

Erin points to the little crab on her mermaid piece, and you can see her painting about Gonesh, as a purple elephant, beside that.

This is my favorite of Erin's many pictures from class, tho they were all really good! It's about how she and her husband Dave and their dog Mack go off to camp, without making any plans of where they'll go. You can see the options lying ahead of them, including the Road to Tonapah. Isn't Tonapah in that song Weeds, Whites, and Wine?

I took this picture of my little class, full of wonderful students, at the Portal of Peace: Katie (Flow), Erin, Carol, Pat, and Janice.

And then Flow took this one of me with the rest of the students.

This is a painting which started out as a cleaning rag for airpen works, got some feisty history going where the big black blobs of paint are, and ended up getting some art added by some of us, as we decided to auction it off.

Janice bought it for $20, and the money went to the AQT scholarship program. I wish we would have all signed it and dated it. I hope Janice will use her own airpen to put in all of our names and note the time of this piece's making. It's about 12" square, a rare example of wild American funk art of the early 21st century, in the High Sierras!

Thursday at 5 PM, we went to a little party at Cabin #4. Here's teacher Sue Benner (left) with hostess Julianna (sans co-hostess Fabienne) and Flow, enjoying a chat in the kitchen.

Other students and teachers relaxed in the cabin's livingroom. On the couch are the two students I sat with on the plane from Reno to Midway the next day: Nancy and Candy.

This is my painting from the class, which I've done most of the writing on, and then used to do my quilting demo. I have to finish some of the painted images' writing and the border stories. It's called "Lava Lamps over Lake Tahoe," and has a snowdrift in the foreground, under which is buried a dragon, since I didn't like the theme of dragons. There's Saturday and Sunday nights' dusting of snow on the shore and mountaintops. And on the lake and shore are my Lights of the World: the hippie's friend, lava lamps. One of them is even walking on the water.  :)

In the sky I drew some buddhas, which soon turned into me, Libby, Jimmy, Eva, Gretchen, and Mike (my family) and all of our cats, all floating in the sky over Lake Tahoe.

Walter took this picture of my students and me on the last day of AQT. Front row: me and Flow. Back row: Erin, Janice, Carol, and Pat.

This was my favorite Art Quilt Tahoe of the four I've taught at, and I think a lot of it was due to being at the wonderful Zephyr Point Conference Center on the shores of Lake Tahoe, instead of up at a ski resort in Squaw Valley, which was also beautiful, but this trumps that by far! Oh, and I had some especially sweet students, tho I missed some of my other favorites, and they know who they are!!!!

Thank you, Judy and Walter and everyone!  Love, Lucky


  1. Wow, I was transported to AQT there for awhile. I love Lake Tahoe, having lived in Nevada during the 70's, and it being a favorite destination during those years. Hey, the song is called Willin' by Little Feat. Part of the refrain is ♪♫ And I've been from Tucson to Tucumcari, Tehachapi to Tonopah....♫♪ You amaze me, you're always so full of positive thoughts and encouragement. Thanks, Lucky.

  2. Thanks! I love Little Feat, but I didn't remember that that was their song! Yes, "Willin' " sounds right for the name. People used to play that song at our commune, the Needle's Eye's Friday night jam sessions, and we'd all play and sing along. My fave Little Feat song was "Dixie Chicken" which, of course, led to the band Dixie Chicks' name in another generation.
    A band in northern Ohio named Buckeye Biscuit covered "Dixie Chicken," and I made a big painting on canvas in 1979, all about going to see the band play.
    Anyhow, glad you love and know Tahoe, too!

  3. Thanks for the great post, Susan! I could feel the energy of Zephyr Point and your wonderful class! It brings back for me the great time we all had at HIgh Peak Camp outside Estes Park last year!

    Your enthusiasm is infectious, in a good way!

  4. Forgot to say, I LOVE the lava lamps Light of the World!

  5. Great post lady friend but how is my puppy love??? Happy Thanksgiving to you and Jimmy! Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart