Baker’s Dozen

It’s great to spend a day in the classroom playing with fabric and color! A recent class had students using 13 fabrics (a baker’s dozen) to create a quilt top. This piece is improvised with a bit of structure–and it was fun to see people break out of their comfort zone and work through design decisions. We put up a design wall towards the end of class and experimented with various layouts. This easy to piece quilt encourages makers to come up with something uniquely their own. Here are two finished pieces, sent by students Barbara, with the green and purple theme, and Peggy, whose fabrics are printed with mathematical symbols. Can you count the 13 fabrics each used? Future classes are posted at The Sewing Machine Exchange. PS. that could be a trick question–I count 11 fabrics in one of these!

‘Visionary’ debuts at the Vermont Quilt Festival

How and what does an artist see? ‘Visionary’ is a Studio Art Quilts Association (SAQA) juried regional exhibit showing what quilt artists from New England and New York are seeing today—in all the varied meanings of the word. All pieces in this exhibit are 20″ square, and most are available for purchase. The show’s debut was put on hold more than once and now opens virtually, at the Vermont Quilt Festival in June.

The Vermont Quilt Festival runs from June 17 to 27, 2021. $5 buys a ticket to the run of the festival including a special video presentation of the SAQA quilts, and a Gallery Talk at 2:00 pm on June 19th (available as a recording for the remainder of the show). Make time to view this special exhibit and wander through the entire festival this month!

SAQA is an international non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the art quilt and the artists who create them. Founded in 1989 by an initial group of 50 artists, SAQA members now number more than 3,600 artists, teachers, collectors, gallery owners, museum curators and corporate sponsors.  

Living in a Material World Rana O’Connor 2020

Reflections on an Exhibit

Probably the most unusual venue for this year’s Art Quilts Maine tour is coming to a close this weekend. If you haven’t driven down Elm St in Portland yet, be sure to do so before Tuesday! The show is at the Portland Public Library. Most year’s the quilts brighten the children’s area, often for a couple of winter months. This year, pandemic, everything has been different. With the library closed to foot traffic, Rachel and Mary came up with the idea of hanging the show in the Elm St windows, visible from the street. The artists were game–and with a little ingenuity, the show went up in early May. As the images below show, the window gallery made for a unique take on the artwork, in combination with reflections of the parking garage and buildings across the street. Definitely worth a drive by! If you can’t get to Portland this weekend, the final venue for this collection is the Topsham Public Library. The show goes on view there June 7, coming down at the end of the month. Don’t miss it!

Not a Virtual Exhibit

It’s spring in Maine which can only mean mud, melting ice and more mud. Maybe you need something colorful to carry you past mud season? Are you ready to see some art In Person? The Stonewall Gallery at Yarmouth History Center is hosting this year’s Art Quilts Maine touring show in their lovely exhibit space at 118 East Elm St in Yarmouth. The Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 to 4:00. The show comes down April 30 by which time hopefully Maine will be in bloom!

Rosapaloosa — Anne Walker

Class Project Smash Up

One of my students, Joann, took a collage quilting class from Emily Taylor–you can too, if you like. Click over to her website at The class project was this sweet owl. Isn’t he cute!

When it came time to choose a background, Joann remembered the class she took from me, Tree Bits and Thread Paint. She had created her tree on a great batik background, and it was just waiting to be completed. She added a piece of hand dyed fabric from yet another workshop and Voila!

Brilliant use of class projects to create a really fun wall hanging. I also love the creative tabs and twig hanging method. Well done, Joann and thanks for sharing your finished piece!

We’re slowly moving past the pandemic, and I am scheduling new classes at The Sewing Machine Exchange starting in May, so keep an eye out! Want to get on my mailing list for classes? Click the Contact button above and let me know.


Some of you may have seen the mermaid quilt, “Enchanted Oro Bay”, when it was on display a few years ago or as the flyer image for my class, Free Motion Quilting. If you frequent The Sewing Machine Exchange, you have probably seen her hanging near the front of the store. I found the fabric and embellished her as a reminder of a magical vacation on Anderson Island, in Puget Sound–Oro Bay is near where we stayed. I was pleasantly surprised last week to receive an email from a gentleman saying he saw the mermaid quilt when he was dropping off his wife’s sewing machine for service and wondered if I was willing to sell it. A few emails later we arranged to meet at the store. He was waiting when I arrived, and pulled up a chair to tell me the story of how he and his granddaughter have a bond over mermaids. They had tipped over in the lake when she was little, and after her near drowning experience she exclaimed, “guess I’m not a mermaid!” It’s always wonderful to sell a piece of art and even more special to hear the story of why someone felt a connection to it. So the mermaid has completed her journey from Bali, where the fabric originated, to Washington state, to Maine.

Oro Bay

Classes Resume

While the pandemic continues, we have begun finding ways to resume a somewhat ‘normal’ life. Many classes moved online. I did not go that route, but in the past month have begun, slowly and with precautions, to teach in person at The Sewing Machine Exchange again. Classes are limited to 5 students, with distancing and masks throughout. Even with the restrictions it has been fun to return to teaching, enjoying the give and take of working with students, meeting them where they are in their quilting journey and helping each take a step forward. A recent class on transforming a photograph to an art quilt ended up with one student, Christina. There’s a lesson in flexibility–5 signed up, but the virus news was not good that week. I was lucky to have Christina as my student though! An artist in several other media, she is beginning to explore fabric art. We worked through the class exercise, learning how to manipulate fabric to create the images you want. She went home and created the piece below–a self portrait! She calls herself a “wicked beginner” but she brings an artist’s sensibility to the work and I suspect will quickly master the techniques! There is one spot remaining in this Saturday’s class, Tree Bits and Threadpaint. After a holiday break, I’ll post a class schedule for the new year–looking forward with hope!

Self Portrait: Christina Keilt

Maine Fiberarts Guide to Teaching Resources

A new guide to learning everything fiber related will be out in print soon. This beautiful book with color saturated images of wool, yarn, needlework–even paper, includes contact information for artist/teachers, farms, retreats and residencies across the state from Eastport to Biddeford. Christine Macchi, tireless promoter of fiber, craft and the making tradition brought this book to fruition on the strength of her vision, dedication and drive. I was pleasantly surprised to find “Mom and Aunti Jean Play Gin” on pg. 35. Preorder your copy–or download the digital version and dream about learning a new skill, or just dream about color, pattern and tactile pleasures.

Art Quilts Maine travelling exhibit

Great news! The traveling show is hung and on display at the lovely Skowhegan Free Public Library which is open Monday to Thursday 10 am to 6 pm and Fridays 10 am to 3 pm. The quilts are on display at the library until the week between Christmas and New Year! There was a moment when Covid closed the library as well as local schools, shortly after the quilts were hung. Skowhegan made the right decisions and they are now open to the public–don’t forget your mask! Go visit, send your friends, and enjoy these photos taken by an enthusiastic librarian, Breanna!

Our virtual life

Someday life will go back to being lived in person, attending shows and museums, enjoying the company of friends. In the meanwhile, we are discovering new ways to be online. The Art Quilts Maine travelling exhibit is up at Kimball St Studios for another week, and while it is possible to go see it in person, you might prefer to click this link and view the slideshow! The tour will be at the Skowhegan Free Public Library during October and November–and they are open, so you can walk in and enjoy. The schedule beyond that is tentative–will try to update you when confirmed.

THE BLUES 48″ x 35″ 2020

Experimenting with making a slide show for Kimball St, I put together a short piece on the process of making my entry for the Art Quilts Maine challenge, Inspired by the Classics. My artist inspiration was Caravaggio. I’ve posted the video on Facebook–here’s a link to the making of ‘The Blues’.