When Work is Play

I’ve been working to get my list of classes together for the AQS show director, except it’s really not work, is it? Not when I get to play with beads and baubles, fabrics and fibers all day long. Well, okay, there’s a bit of computer work in there too, but still, when the creativity is flowing, life is good.

Here’s the small class sample I finished today:

The cool fabric in the foreground is an Alexander Henry fabric that came from Hancock’s of Paducah last year when I was at the National Quilt Museum for the Diane Gaudynski workshop. The fabric is backed with a piece of thin fusible batting and a cardstock-weight stiffener, quilted a bit on the machine to add some dimension, and then beaded and embroidered by hand. The foreground piece is attached to the quilted background with a running stitch in variegated embroidery floss and Kreinik metallic thread.

This is for a class called Embellishment Dimension, a technique class focusing on all the beading and embroidery techniques I’ve been working with lately. As it got closer to completion, the whole piece just seemed to be so M.C. Escher-like, hence the name, Spirit of Escher. And Escher is one of my favorite artists, after all.

5 thoughts on “When Work is Play

  1. Like it Nadine. I wish I could go! Maybe you could come to Road to California next year or the next year. Yes – I like that idea!

    When I was a teen I used to wait for my husband (man, were we young) outside of his biology class at Cal Poly SLO. The hallways were lined with Escher prints and I had never seen his stuff before. (This was 1973.) I remember just staring at the prints trying to figure them out. Where did 36 years go?

    I hope you keep posting your class ideas, too.


  2. Hi Kelly! I like the Road2Ca idea! Maybe I’ll look into that. I have a whole book about Escher, and I could look at it for hours, his work is so interesting. Way back when I was first getting sucked in to quilting, I wanted to enter the Hoffman Challenge, and the fabric that year just looked like it belonged in one of his works. I actually wrote to the M.C. Escher Company to get permission to duplicate one of his works, Day and Night in fabric for the contest. The Company said I could, for a price that at the time wasn’t too easy for me to pay, so I never did the quilt.

    For the record, I’ve always wanted to run before I could walk; I probably could have really done this type of thing about ten years after I wanted to, but I surely didn’t have the skills in 1989-90 when I was just starting out. I actually did do some complicated piecing like this in Butterfly Houses in 2000-2001, and the concept was quite similar to Escher’s work. Funny how things come full circle sometimes.


  3. Hey Nadine, you’re redesigned website is splendid! Lots of fun new things to explore. Looking forward to The Book, too. When you are booking your classes, save some time on your schedule for those of us on the East Coast. Mancuso Quilt Fests and Vermont Quilt Fest are particular favs of mine. Would love to head out west to the Road to California, though paranoid about flying with my machine (if you have tips on traveling with a sewing machine, it seems to be a topic in desperate need of coverage). Kelly – check it out – I attended Cal Poly SLO from 79-84, and I remember those Escher Prints in the science building! I love the idea of Escher-inspired quilts, and Nadine, if anyone on this planet can pull off a full-scale Escher quilt, you are definitely the one!


    1. Hi Dorothy! Glad you like the site! Funny you should mention the Quilt Fests, since I was just thinking about those. They’re on my list to apply to, that’s for sure, so maybe we’ll catch up sometime in the not-too-distant future.

      I don’t have many tips about flying with the machine, but you might check into renting a machine from a shop in the area of the quilt show you plan to attend. I’ve done that in Paducah! Also, check out the best suitcases/sewing machine travel cases ever! You may have seen these at a show, but I can tell you, they are fab! I have two of the large ones that I use for clothing, etc. when I travel. If you want to carry one on with your machine in it, they say that the medium size is small enough, if your machine will fit in it!

      Kelly – check it out – I attended Cal Poly SLO from 79-84, and I remember those Escher Prints in the science building!

      Wow! How funny is that? I often marvel at how truly small the world is, and it just gets smaller every day.

      There may be another large Escher-style quilt in me, you never know!


    2. I wear my heart in the Central Coast. There were NO JOBS in the early 1970’s so we had to leave. And we have a nice life in So Cal. But the Central Coast – nothing finer. BTW – If you ever came to Road, they set up the rentals for the machines when you register. This is a show you have to register early for as it fills up really, really fast. I think this is because they get such good teachers?


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