Archive for January, 2014

In the Studio: Stitching and Shagbarks


What a winter!  I don’t mind the below zero temps as it makes being in my studio the best place to be.

I finished the first heavily stitched artwork (which I can’t show you) and moved on to an unrelated (but also unable to show) artwork.  The whole “unable to show” thing is one of the curses of being an exhibiting artist, but I can understand the need for the NEW.


This artwork is, appropriately enough, about my beloved shagbark hickories in winter.  Or, more specifically, about one square foot of the tree. Shagbarks are unusual trees in that their bark peels off on a regular basis. So the tree is always covered in layers of rugged texture. When a chunk of bark falls off, another layer of color and a different texture are revealed.


When all in my yard is black and white, the shagbarks, upon closer inspection, are shades of grey, brown, blue, tan, ochre, and rust.  The snow covers the limbs and sinks in the crevices of the peeling bark.

I plan on working on this piece for a very long time as it will be all hand-stitched.  Perhaps not the best choice for screen printed upholstery fabric, but one demanded by the subject.



01 2014

Collage and Collecting around a Theme


Back to our regularly scheduled programming after a HUGELY successful Fiber 5K to Fight Cancer.  Thanks to everyone who contributed to that success.


Remember Borough Market in London?  I may have acquired a few boxes of artisan du chocolat bars while I was there.  I wanted to make a collage from the boxes.  This was the first thought on some beautiful cafe au lait painted fabric.  Too boring, no?


Here is the final result.  A postcard map from the Market, 3 coffee cups cut from different part of the chocolate bar boxes, mounted on backing board.  See the opening photo for the framed artwork. And I have enough cups left to make another artwork some day.

Mixed-media Collage
Virginia A. Spiegel

I usually buy art based solely on its appeal to me and don’t worry about themes when I hang it.  But I have nevertheless have a nice start on a java-themed collection.  It makes sense; it’s just a variation on collect what you love.

Java Java
Mixed-media collage
Virginia A. Spiegel

Note the wall in the opening photo is painted espresso brown to encourage me to collect more.  Shown are two Jeanelle McCall mixed-media collages, a Jamie Fingal small art quilt, a Susan Sorrell heavily stitched fabric collage, an Ellie Kreneck small art quilt (purchased through the Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc. auction – a great source for small artworks),  some postcards from a roaster in Alaska, and the rest are my collages and photo.

One last thought on collecting – HANG YOUR ART.  I had so much art in storage that I didn’t even know what I had.  So I just starting putting up nails and hanging art as I found it during the great studio refresh.  As you can see on my java wall, a little more planning might be nice.  But the important thing is to have art where you can see it and appreciate it every day.


01 2014

We Did It! Fiber 5K Reaches the Finish Line in One Day


Check it out!  That’s right, the little red sneaker made it all the way to $5000 raised for the American Cancer Society in just one day.
In fact, with online and offline donation, our total for the Fiber 5K to Fight Cancer is $5746!


We couldn’t have done it without crazy generous donors AND these amazing Sponsors:

Sue Bleiweiss, Mistyfuse, Gelli Arts, Fiber on a Whim, Hoffman Fabrics, Jamie Fingal, Lynn Krawczyk, The Printed Fabric Bee, Aurifil, Karen Stiehl Osborn, Mary Ann Van Soest, Lesley Riley, Artfabrik!, Generation Q, Meinke Toy, Stencil Girl Products,
Friends Fabric Art, Jane LaFazio, Vicki Welsh, Martha Sielman, Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc., Deborah Boschert, Gail Myrhorodsky, Quilting Arts, Carol Sloan, Artistcellar, Carol R. Eaton, Janice Novachcoff, Havel’s Sewing, Martingale, FreeSpirit, Rowan, Diane Rusin Doran, Lura Schwarz Smith, Gerrie Congdon, Kay Sorensen and Jane Dunnewold.
Prize Winners

Special thanks to Jeanelle McCall, designer of the Fiber 5K logo, race courses, and race certificate.




01 2014

Ten Quick Tips for “Running” the Fiber 5K Today


At last!  The Fiber 5K to Fight Cancer begins at 10 a.m. Central today!  Are you ready? Here are ten quick tips to make today a GREAT day:

1.  The link for you to donate directly to the American Cancer Society will be live at 10 a.m. Central here.  Donations are by credit card only.  Please note it will indicate that you are donating through Fiberart For A Cause to the Forest Lake Area Relay For Life.  That is correct as Fiberart For A Cause is a team for this Relay of which my sister is Chair.  Relay For Life is the ACS’s largest grassroots fundraiser.

2.  There is no minimum donation required.  The suggested minimum donation is $20. Everyone will be entered at least one time in the goal-reached drawings.  But if you are able to donate $25, you will be entered TWICE.  $50, three times.  And so on in $25 increments.

3. In order for the most people possible to win prizes, you may only win one goal-reached prize. However, if you win a prize during one of the goal-reached drawings, you are still eligible to win the Grand Prize and any Challenge Prizes for which you have qualified.

4. There are also wonderful CHALLENGE prizes for donating $25, $100, or $250, and for encouraging others to “run” the Fiber 5K.

5. Have you checked out the PRIZES?  Our prize SPONSORS have been uber-generous to encourage you to donate. Prizes are awarded using a random number generator and no substitutions are possible.

6.  The earlier you donate, the more chances you have to win.  Why?  Because you are eligible for all goal-reached (1K, 2K, etc.) drawings after you donate.

7. Prize winners will be listed first name and last initial or as Anonymous on the prize page here.  The prize winner’s e-mail will be shared with the prize Sponsor who will contact the winner to arrange shipping.  Please THANK our Sponsors for their generosity in supporting our fundraiser.


8.  Patience, grasshoppers.  If I don’t move the red shoe or indicate I’ve contacted all the prize winners as soon as you think that should be happening, please be patient.  Won’t it be nice if I’m that busy?

9.  You will be receiving an e-mail from me with a snazzy “I Ran the Fiber 5K to Fight Cancer” race certificate pdf designed by Jeanelle McCall who does all of Fiberart For A Cause’s logos, etc. pro bono.  

10.  Print out and display your race certificate with pride knowing you have done a good deed today!

 Thank  you in advance for your support.  It means a lot to me personally and every dollar we raise does make a difference in the fight against cancer.
Fiberart For A Cause has, thanks to the generosity of fiber patrons, artists, and businesses, already donated more than $230,000 to the American Cancer Society.


01 2014

Vivika DeNegre: Choosing the Positive

DeNegreheadVivika DeNegre

Viivka DeNegre is an amazing woman and I’m not sure if amazing actually is sufficient in her case. It’s not just that she seems to accomplish so much, but that she is so positive and gracious in doing it all.   Here is just part of her bio as Editor of Quilting Arts Magazine:
“Like many art quilters, she learned to sew, knit, and embroider at an early age.  Her love affair with quilting started when she made her first nine-patch block, and has continued since that day.  After covering every bed in the house, she moved on to making art quilts, and has never looked back.  She has been an active member of several quilting groups, and credits her fellow artists with giving her inspiration and lots of pointers along her artistic journey. When not creating in her studio or working at Quilting Arts, she can be found hiking the trails of New England with her husband and four children. “

I am thrilled to be able to ask her about trends in the art quilting world – who better to know?

1.  What made you decide to Sponsor the Fiber 5K to Fight Cancer?
At Quilting Arts Magazine, we have a history of supporting Fiber Arts for a Cause fundraisers… from the very beginning, this cause struck a chord with not only our staff, but our readers. We all know someone who has battled cancer and want to do something to help. And if we can use our creative talents to fund research and support our friends, all the better. Of course, there is always a personal connection, and for me, supporting FFAC has been a personal mission ever since I learned about it. My family has been touched by cancer in so many ways. This is a positive action I can take against a disease that has changed my life.

After we reach our goal of $5000 donated to the
American Cancer Society during the Fiber 5K, there will be a Grand Prize drawing.
One winner will receive this DVD and the two featured below from
Quilting Arts as well as many other prizes
Quilting Arts TV: Series 1200

Now airing on PBS

2.  What are you working on in your studio or what’s new in your biz?
Interweave launched Craft Daily several months ago. This is a new a new program that allows subscribers unlimited access to video content from multiple craft communities, including Knitting, Jewelry Making, and Quilting. All of those missed episodes of Quilting Arts TV, past Quilting Arts Workshop videos, and plenty of new content are available for streaming any time you want. What a concept!

3.  What is one of your goals for 2014?
Studio time is always a challenge for me! My goal this year is to get back in my studio and work on a series of large quilts I have been designing in my head for the last few years.

Quilting Arts Workshop DVD:
Art Quilt Design with Hand-Carved Blocks with
Cynthia St. Charles.  Part of Quilting Arts Magazine’s Sponsor donation.

4.  What big trend do you see in the fiber/textile world in 2014?
Art quilting is alive and well! One trend I’ve been seeing lately is the explosion of digital surface design techniques… it is easier than ever to have an idea for patterning cloth, create the image on a simple computer program, and either print the fabric at home or use an online printing source. The results are stunning, and the creative options are astounding.


 Quilting Arts Workshop DVD:
Perfect Machine Stitched Circles
with Libby Lehman. Part of Quilting Arts Magazine’s Sponsor donation.

5.  What advice do you have for new artists/new business owners?
Get in your studio and experiment. Try something new. Reach out to other artists and network. But most of all, explore your own creativity and enjoy the journey.

FFAC2014logo300The Fiber 5K to Fight Cancer opens tomorrow, January 15, at 10 a.m. Central with a goal of $5000 donated directly to the American Cancer Society through Fiberart For A Cause.
Fiberart For A Cause, through the generosity of fiber patrons, artists, and businesses, has already donated more than $230,000.


01 2014