Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fur Rendezvous Art Quilt

Anchorage Fur Rendezvous (20"x24") by Judy Wedemeyer
Historically, fur rendezvous was a mid-February gathering of fur trappers to sell or trade their winter harvest, as well as a festive time of social interaction and competitive games to break up the monotony of winter isolation. Fur trade was Alaska’s second-largest industry but the lifestyle was remote and solitary.

Vern Johnson organized a three-day sports tournament in Anchorage called the “Winter Sports Carnival”, held February 15-17, 1935.  His desire to lift community spirit amongst 3000 isolated fellow residents was timed to coincide with the rendezvous.  The carnival was renamed “Winter Sports Tournament and Fur Rendezvous” and became just “Fur Rendezvous” in 1937.

The original Winter Sports Carnival events included basketball, boxing, skiing, hockey, a sled dog race for children, a parade and bonfire.  Present day events number over 100 yet  the World Championship Sled Dog Race remains the key event since 1946 and draws mushers from across Alaska and the world to race 75 miles over three days.  Fur Rendezvous has extended its traditional ten days from mid-February through early March since 2004, as a precursor to the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Promotional pins were first created and sold in 1939 to help fund the event.  Early pins were not mass-produced and are highly collectible. During the parade, spectators without a Rondy pin were playfully detained by Keystone ‘Rondy Kops’ in a mobile jail until a purchased pin paid for their release. 

G. Mike Naumann’s 1954 dog mushing photo won a Blue Ribbon in the Fur Rondy Amateur Photo Contest.  Daughter, Judy painted the photo in 1978.  

1964 Great Alaska Earthquake Quilt

1964 Great Alaska Earthquake (20"x24") by Judy Wedemeyer
South-central Alaska was struck by the largest earthquake in the United States and the second largest earthquake ever recorded in history with a magnitude of 9.2 on the Richter Scale.  The quake occurred on Good Friday, March 27, 1964 at 5:36 pm Alaska time with a duration of 4 minutes, 38 seconds.  Nine Anchorage residents died from the earthquake itself.  A total of 139 deaths occurred from resulting tsunamis in Alaska as well as on the Oregon and California coast. 

As a ten year old, I did not fully comprehend the catastrophic power of this earthquake since our family experienced relatively little destruction to our home from its wrath.  Six hours after the earthquake I wrote a letter to my Godmother giving a first hand account of said event.  The letter and a photo of our kitchen described in the letter are on my earthquake quilt.  Although cupboards spilled their contents, our dinner remained on the table, however not a drop of coffee was left in any cups because it was all on the ceiling!  Some photos were taken by my father, Mike Naumann, who worked for the City of Anchorage, Sign Shop and had access to areas otherwise closed to the public after the earthquake.

Anchorage suffered property loss, both commercial and residential yet the death toll was small in number due to being a Good Friday holiday and dinner time.  Earthquakes can happen anywhere at anytime, but Alaska has several faults with a propensity of another high magnitude quake occurring in its future.  Not if, but when...  the ‘64 quake helps us remember our past and prepare for the future.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Comfort Quilt Tops, Dog Beds and More!

Working in my newly remodeled studio this winter has inspired me to complete  several unfinished quilt projects to donate for charitable purposes.  I transformed two large garbage bags of batting scraps from Anchorage Log Cabin Quilt members into 20 pet beds for Anchorage Friends of Pets.  Once again, rescued animals, the landfill and my studio benefit from these recycling efforts.
A portion of the pet beds recently donated
Then I dug into drawers of partially sewn quilt tops, accumulated leftover blocks and miscellaneous scraps to piece the following tops.  These tops will be passed onto our guild's Comfort Quilt Committee who will sew them into finished lap quilt donations for various local non-profit organizations.
1000 Pyramids class project from 1993
extra triangles = and extra quilt top
The checkerboard strips were from a couple previous projects.
from the scrap pile -  fun to make but time intensive

summer season table runner using leftover hand-dyed fabric scraps
Several other block sets, and tops I didn't want to bother with were included in the donation pile but not photographed.  Final outcome, three drawers were emptied for future studio organization. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Cosmic Commotion

"Cosmic Commotion" 12" square by Judy Wedemeyer
This is my Wed@Pat's group challenge entry for the 2014 Alaska Fiber Festival.   The quilts will be sold to benefit the Alaska Fiber Festival.

My quilt was designed using the  4-patch method of tiles and symmetry as explained on Raymond K. Houston's website.  The top was actually created several months earlier when I was experimenting with Raymond's  'line alphabet' system (as explained on this posting) in which my chosen word spelled out BLUE.  I have made a RED, YELLOW, GREEN and MYSTERY quilt using the same line alphabet.   This month I shared the design method with a local quilt group and hope to see future art quilts from those members.  It is a fun and challenging exercise to create original works with repeatable design methods.  I have several 12" art quilts designed and waiting in the wings to be transformed with fabric.  Woe is me with so many ideas and so little time.

The backside of Cosmic Commotion

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Winter Time Tote

Winter Time Tote (size 18" X 24")
This Sherri K. Falls pattern came from her 2006 book ~Woodroses in Winter~ purchased that same year in Rhinelander, WI during a family vacation.  Although it was summer at the time, Mom and I were attracted to the stores kit sample hanging in Karen's Quilt Corner.  I promised to make it for Mom but over time I'd lost track of the project until my recent studio remodel when it resurfaced along with my determination to give it to Mom before this year ended.  Goal accomplished!
each pocket features a different panel

Construction was fairly simple once I understood the directions.  Thank goodness for book diagrams and photos.  There were a couple of steps I really had to ponder, especially the final seams and corner connections.  To spare myself a possible disaster, I made a paper version of the layers to that point and then tested the cutting directions and secured with tape first to make sure all would work out.  Actually, this tote pattern is awesome now that I've made one.  I can see myself making others with different themes. 

What made this tote more challenging was my use of a thick felted blanket as the batting.  I love the sturdiness of the bag but my machine could not handle four layers of this 'batting' plus the eight layers of fabric when it came time to sew the side seams and corners.  Hand stitched button hole thread (really strong stuff!), did the trick but was very painful on arthritic hands to accomplish.  Next bags will not be as thick for that reason.

My other pattern alteration was adding pockets to the inside of the bag using leftover contrasting fabric scraps.  Due to the clever fabric choices, this tote can be used all winter long - including Christmas, without being 'Christmasy'.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Material Maven's 'Comfort' Quilt

"Connoisseurs of Comfort" by Judy Wedemeyer - 2013 (12"square)
Today was November's quilt reveal on the Material Maven's blog.  Here is the link to my post  "Connoisseurs of Comfort" where you can read the full story and construction methods.  Be sure to check out all of the Comfort themed quilts.

January theme is:  STRONG

November's 'COMFORT' theme was my final challenge piece as a Material Maven (although I didn't realize it at the time).  My creative focus will be directed toward producing art quilts for our Anchorage Centennial Celebration on behalf of Anchorage Log Cabin Quilter's, Inc.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

WedeWorks Studio Remodel 2013

My basement studio measures 17' X 23' and is located on the backside of our house beneath a large overhanging deck which limits sun exposure.  Previous water leaks created unacceptable mold and mildew that had to be addressed this summer.  Just emptying the room was a monumental task requiring incremental steps.  Hauling heavy furniture and supplies up 1-3 flights of stairs depending on which area of the house I could cram things into was a weary endeavor I hope to never repeat.  Moving it all back wasn't much easier!  One way to avoid any future water problem was to replace the carpet with a solid stained concrete floor.  Thankfully my husband took on the laborious job of cleaning the floor, filling surface blemishes, priming twice, and staining three times.  Now my hand vac makes for easy upkeep and the anti-fatigue mats cushion the work areas.

Here are some before and after photos of the transformation.  Note the suspended ceiling was replaced with sheet rock and new lighting.  The book case was cut in two equal sections after the mold section was removed.  One section is on the stairwell now and the other is right of my sewing machine behind the plastic drawer organizer for yarn.  Together they fill an empty space at the end of the table and provide table space for that sewing station. (see 8th photo down)
We removed the closet door leading to more storage access which allowed me to put larger items near the entrance without fussing with a door.

The bead station used to be in the bar corner but was relocated to our office.  Now my cotton fabric resides in the bar corner.
 I gave up my design wall and wall cupboards for shelving units with labeled clear totes for easy visibility.  The white shelving unit sat on the old wood stove hearth and ate up too much of a useless corner.

Curtains need to be made, a bit more wall decor added and a few more totes organized but overall, this is a done deal!  It looks, smells and feels so much fresher, brighter and efficient.  I love my new space! 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

"Garden Greenery" Material Maven's Green Theme Piece

This is today's submission to Material Maven's online art quilt challenge.  The theme was GREEN.  The title of my 12" square piece is "Garden Greenery".  Click on this Maven's link to read about it.  The new theme will be posted sometime the same day. 

Close up detail of my wire beaded dragonfly and bead embellishing.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cellular World

"Cellular World" by Judy Wedemeyer 2013 (12"sq.)
This  'cosmic'  feeling art piece is in response to the Material Maven's  Cell theme for July.  My daughter Kristen's fiance is into astronomy and I thought this would be an appropriate companion piece to another small quilt I gave Lincoln.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Because You Ask ~

Artists are often asked to explain how they create, what their process is and if they have a 'road map' in their heads before they begin?  Today I reread a statement I'd written in reply to a similar inquiry and thought I'd share it here.

"For me, working without a 'recipe' whether in the kitchen or in my studio, invigorates my experimental side. Using the cooking analogy ~ when you have cooked enough to be comfortable in the kitchen, you can read a recipe and tell if it will be bland or could use some spicing up. Eventually, what you know leads to 'original recipes' rather than following a cookbook. The same applies to my art.

I've tried to analyze my creative approach at various times in my life but see no recognizable 'formula' for how I work, which is most likely due to the wide range of media I use and the absence of a personal repeatable style. From youth I've tinkered artistically with any accessible materials ~ often discards. I remember Dad sharing his colored electrical wiring and showing me how to braid a 5-strand length of wire, or giving me his wood scraps and use of his jigsaw, hammer and nails. My top childhood gift requests were always art oriented. You get the idea... I mention this because for me, expanding my skills and knowledge through experimentation and education, have filled my 'toolbox' with multiple abilities and the confidence to use them.

The ability to create something from nothing is actually more inspirational for me than starting from a blank piece of paper and pencil, although I've done both as need and mood dictate. If one method of kick starting me doesn't work, I try another. Sometimes my ideas begin from doodles, or photos, or a word and sometimes I just peruse my art quilt books or get online for ideas. I seldom toss failures or scraps away and if you keep like items organized and handy you are more likely to use them. (skip hiding them in the sock and pj drawer) lol
"Interwoven Through The Ages" by Judy Wedemeyer (12" square)
With my Interwoven piece I invested 90% of my time in the cogitative state. I do feel it's significant to ask yourself what you want to achieve before you begin and from there, what materials and colors might work that will reinforce your ideas. Most importantly, I've discovered that I must remain flexible in my approach, letting each step dictate what the next could be to improve the piece, and asking myself if I am adhering to the basic art 'rules' of successful design ~ contrast, line, color, balance, etc.

When creative constipation occurs I deliberately step away from my studio and get my brain entirely off the project. A fresh view may speak volumes and open a floodgate of ideas."

I hope I've answered your question to some degree and would love to hear how the rest of you navigate your art quilt design process.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Canyon Colors & Curves

Here is my newest Material Maven's challenge quilt.  The theme was Canyon.

fabric side
felted wool side
Click on the link above to read about its construction as well as the other group submissions. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fabric Floral Brooches

Slightly darker photo shows the fabric contrast a bit better.
The lighter red flower was my first one made of polar fleece.  I like the variety of fabrics and textures in the 30 I made over the weekend.
The flower petals were cut with pinking shears in several sized circles.  I intentionally stacked and glued them with contrasting colors to depict depth.  The first time I made these I used hot glue but found it to be messier with the glue strings flying around.  This time I used Aileen's Tacky Glue and was very pleased with the results.  The pin backs were adhered with a liberal application of Aileen's Fast Grab Glue ~ it dries clear. 

I plan to donate these pins to the Anchorage Senior Center Gift Shop.  Finishing this project freed up a baking sheet holding all the supplies as well as table space in my studio.  Yay!

Recycling Fabric & Batting Scraps

Whenever I can re-purpose discarded items to keep them from the landfill I enthusiastically do so.   Fabric and batting trimmings from recent quilt projects  (including the liners from dress ties), all got tossed in a plastic bag until I had enough to fill a 28" square dog bed.  Here is the result.
28" square corduroy covered dog bed
I made a liner from ugly rust dyed fabric that didn't turn out nice enough for my art projects but was perfect for this project.  I stuffed the scraps in the liner and sewed the opening closed with a slightly larger stitch for easy reopening.  The liner can be refilled with fresh scraps or new fiberfill when needed and the quilted cover can be machine washed separately.

As a dog walker for Friends of Pets - a local animal rescue shelter - this will be the first of hopefully many hand made dog beds I will assemble from my studio scraps and donate to the pooches.  My plan is to make a few liners and covers in advance.  I'll bet I can get stuffing donations from fellow quilters at our guild.  Dog bed covers can also be made from old blue jeans and upholstery fabric.  Love to keep that stuff out of the landfill.  Lighter, smaller beds can be made for the kitties too.  And as a side note: I've been shredding office paper and bagging it to donate for the small critters like hamsters and guinea pigs for Animal Control.  I hope they will take it, otherwise it goes to the recycling center.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Material Maven Theme Challenge: Communication

"SOS" by Judy Wedemeyer (12"x12")
Today is reveal day for our  Communication themed art quilts.  Here is my  Material Maven's submission.  Read the details here.

The first photo transfer had a slight smudge from my printer so I used it as a practice piece.  Slightly larger dimensions allowed for more embroidery details  (both hand and machine) in the border.
"SOS" by Judy Wedemeyer (14"x15")

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Transformed Treasures 2013 Lamp Project

In short, I refurbished this candlestick style table lamp with bell shade by hand scraping the old paint off the base and repainting with several light coats of copper colored Infusion spray paint.  I discovered the lamp was both metal and plastic composite.  Infusion paint is formulated to adhere to plastic as well as wood, ceramic and metal so it covered my base materials evenly without disappointment.  I'm a new fan!
The 'replacement' shade didn't work out so I ended up recycling the original one.
The old lampshade was layered with dust buildup and had no character to speak of.  After removing the fringe and outer fabric I carefully took apart the inner lining to use as a pattern.  I added a bit more seam allowance to accommodate the fabric fitting as the outer shade.  This bell shaped shade consists of two curved pieces sewn into a tube and is then stretched evenly over the outer shade frame.  I anchored the fabric to frame ribs at top and bottom with button hole thread.  This allowed me to stretch the fabric evenly before I hand glued the edges using Ailene's Fast Grab glue.  LOVE that stuff!  I chose not to replace the lining but I made matching bias tape to cover the edges. It too is secured with the Fast Grab glue.  Bias tape provides a stretchiness needed to follow the curves smoothly.  Voila! New lampshade I like so much I think I will have to bid on it at the auction.