Censorship is never good nor right


Artwork by Kathy Nida

Who knew art quilts could be so subversive that they would need to be banned?  That’s just what happened to artist Kathy Nida.  Kathy’s work has naked people, so don’t click the link if that bothers you. Kathy’s post has all the details of what this situation is all about.  Except for the fact that both of her works have now been shipped back so no one on the American Quilter’s Society Quilt Week circuit will ever see them.  All because one person complained.

I want to speak out against the removal of her artwork for two reasons.  The organization refusing to show Kathy’s artwork is the American Quilter’s Society. This is also the organization through which the National Quilt Museum has chosen to tour the Gala of the Unexpected exhibit of which my artwork is part. I am embarrassed that my artwork is being shown by an organization that is willing to remove artwork rather than try to make a complaint into a teachable moment about the power and value of art.

The second reason is that censorship is never good nor right.  Here’s a great general description of what censorship is from the American Civil Liberties Union.

Thank you, Kathy Loomis, for pointing out that censorship is unconstitutional only when carried out by the government.  But as the ACLU page notes, private censorship is “best countered by groups and individuals speaking out and organizing in defense of the threatened expression.”  That’s us!

Kathy Nida’s graphic rendition of the human condition may not be for everyone, but to me it seems that artwork engendering discussion should be given a place of honor, rather than removed.

Please contact the American Quilter’s Society today from this page and let them know politely that the removal of Kathy Nida’s artwork should be re-considered and reversed.. Or use the addresses provided in this well-reasoned and effective letter of protest written by Mary Beth Frezon.  And don’t forget the power of social media by posting on FB and your own blog.


08 2016

My Dream Collection – SAQA Benefit Auction

Dream Collection2016

Studio Art Quilt Associates’ Benefit Auction kicks-off at 2pm EDT on September 16, but you are able to preview all the more than 400 donated artworks here (with much bigger photos available by clicking for more info) or peruse it by checking out six artworks chosen as Dream Collections. All the Dream Collections are here.

I chose my Dream Collection with the theme of Intriguingly Neutral : All of these artworks read as neutral, but I would love to have all of them on my walls as there would be something new to see in them every day:






According to SAQA:
September 16 Diamond Day bidding – an early bird opportunity to purchase ANY quilt for $1000. The 12″ x12″ Auction Quilts will be divided up into three sections for bidding purposes. Each week, a different section of quilts will be available for bidding, starting at $750 and further reduced throughout the week.    

This is your chance to own beautiful, unique art quilts by some of the world’s finest artists. Plus, your purchases help increase the recognition for art quilts and the artists who make them while supporting SAQA’s exhibitions, publications, and education outreach.

I am a proud juried artist member of SAQA and donate artwork to the smaller Spotlight Auction at the annual conference.  But I always hope to add to my collection during this great event.




08 2016

Celebrating the Midwest with Color and Texture


Virginia A. Spiegel
40×40 inches
Photo by Deidre Adams

Midwest, a new artwork, will exhibit in Stitched Together,  a juried regional Il/WI Studio Art Quilt Associates’ exhibit touring in 2017 and 2018.  See all the accepted work here.


Midwest – Detail
Materials:  White cotton fabric painted with acrylic textile paint,
polyester fabric, ink, batting, rayon and polyester thread,
miniature paper fasteners.

I really do love the Midwest as you can probably tell from my artist’s statement for this artwork:

My husband and I travel frequently between Illinois and Wisconsin, visiting family.  I never fail to exclaim [100% TRUE!] at the top of one certain hill, ” It’s so beautiful.” Spread below me is a tapestry of red barns, fallow fields etched with stubble, and green fields woven with this year’s crops.  What could be more Midwestern than that? 


Midwest – Detail 2
Techniques:  Machine piece, machine quilt, hand applique,
paint, punch, fasten, letter, screen print, ink, spatter

I am currently infatuated with miniature paper fasteners – see Moose Bay.  Here I used them to reference the yard light with which no farm would be without.  The blue/green divisions between the fields are hard to see without high res photos, but are painted batting. Texture, texture, texture.



08 2016

“Clover and a Bee” and new SAQA notecards


Studio Art Quilt Associates, of which I am a proud Juried Artist Member, just released its new set of notecards.

Clover and a Bee is included!  You may purchase the set here. There are ten 4×6″ notecards with envelopes.

Studio Art Quilt Associates is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the art quilt through education, exhibitions, professional development, documentation, and publications. Founded in 1989 by an initial group of 50 artists, SAQA now has over 3,300 members: artists, teachers, collectors, gallery owners, museum curators and corporate sponsors.

ART QUILT: “a creative visual work that is layered
and stitched or that references this form of stitched
layered structure


07 2016

Inspiration Overload – Boundary Waters Adventure #23

June28VPaddleUp400Photo by Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman

Trip #23!  My sister, Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman, and I could never imagine 14 years ago that our first trip would inspire such an ongoing passion for wilderness canoeing.

OutPhotobyCarl400Photo by Carl of Rockwood Lodge and Outfitters
We always bunkhouse here before setting out – highly recommended!


Even after almost 200 days total in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, it is never any less of a thrill to be out on the water for hours on end, adventuring and seeing what there is to see.


You always pay a price to experience the Boundary Waters – muddy portages, bugs (WAY better though than last year’s horde), storms, cold (we wore shirts, windwall fleece, rain jackets, and fleece hats more than we would have wished), wind, rain. You have to be certain you have plenty of arm, plenty of leg.  But every effort pays off in huge dividends of peace, inspiration, relaxation, and just FUN.

VBananabreadmocha400Photo by Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman

Life is reduced to simple pleasures.  Such as Coffee Break! What could be better than my beloved mocha and a mini-loaf of homemade banana bread while sitting on the rock overlooking the lake after a morning of exploring in the canoe?


Photo by Nancy J. Spiegel Rosman

Of course we saw moose – 11 total, including three Moms with twins and one with a solo calf. Our record of seeing moose every trip in the BW holds!  We also saw otters with babies, eagles, beavers, loons, many, many gorgeous warblers, and so much more.


We were up at dawn and out of tent in our jammies to shoot the sunrise and mist from shore and one morning ventured out in the boat at dawn before I had coffee (a true sacrifice, but so worth it).  We also shot all day in the boat and had a daily photo challenge on shore (5 photos on themes such as texture, up close, threes, etc.).  I have over 500 photos of my own plus 300 from Nancy to sort through.  My mind is already overwhelmed with ideas for new textile work and paintings.

These are things I really looked at this trip (deja vu if you have read more than one of these trip reports or seen my artwork :)):

InspirBark400The texture of bark.

InspirGrasseshallows400Grasses in shallow water and the patterns of rock, sun, water.

InspirLilyPads400 Water lilies, lily pads, and the marks on the lily pads.

Rocks!  Nancy spent a lot of time piloting the boat backward and forward until I had just the right shot (And I did for her the same for her with the wily loon.)  This photo is from the top of the big rock that is slowly splitting in half. I told Nancy that it feels like my personal Stonehenge as I keep re-visiting it in person and in my artwork.


It’s always hard to give up sleeping in a tent next to water, power paddling, and having such a wonderful (laughter-filled) time with my sister.  As we say, “Until next year.”

***If you would like to read more about this adventure and see lots more photos, subscribe to my free e-newsletter, Art+Inspiration, by sending an e-mail to Virginia(at)VirginiaSpiegel.com


07 2016