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Friday, March 25, 2011

Trunk show with Maria Elkins.---



I remember connecting with this Lady after thinking these were
portraits not quilts....
Sew I asked her to provide me with some photos
of her captivating quilts sew you could AWE 
with me....
Here are her stories....


Madamm Samm kindly invited me to be a guest blogger on Stash Manicure today. Thanks so much! I’m Maria Elkins, and I like to make original art quilts.

I made my first quilt in 1985 when I was expecting our first daughter, but I started sewing long before that. In fact, I was sewing most of my own clothes by junior high and high school. I was always interested in drawing, too, especially portraits. In the early 1990’s I began seeing quilts that featured people and I finally realized I could combine my love of art with my love of quilts. Since then, I’ve focused on experimenting with ways I could depict people on quilts.



My first original quilt, “In Answer to Prayer,” features a large, male angel. My sweet husband graciously acted as my model. I consider this my sampler quilt because I tried many different techniques. The angel is hand appliqued using Charlotte Warr Andersen’s technique. The border is a watercolor wash – it was going to be the entire background, but it didn’t turn out to be a favorite technique. The wings are trapunto by machine, and the irregular edges are left free so they stand out from the quilt surface. I tried my hand at freehand machine calligraphy. It is hand quilted with sliver metallic thread.


This quilt was a milestone for me. Because I was grappling with my huge fear of failure, it took me several years to complete. But, finishing it also stirred up a desire to create more original quilts.

I joined a quilt guild so I could be around other quilters and learn new techniques. I jumped in and participated in the guild’s yearly quilt challenges. It provided a reason to try new things, and it gave me a deadline, which pushed me forward.
 

In 2000, I started my second original art quilt that features people. (I did make some other quilts between these two, though.) “Wedding Dreams” was made for a quilt guild challenge with the theme of “Visions of Tomorrow.” As I drove home from the guild meeting, I thought of the image of a little girl dreaming of what she would look like on her wedding day. When I got home, I quickly sketched it out. That was the point when I was convinced that this quilt needed to be made life-size.

This quilt is entirely curved, machine piecing, except the faces and flowers, which are hand appliqued. I wanted to create a sense of transparency, so the veil is created through the choice of fabrics, not by using tulle. I also quilted garlands of roses over all of the rings, but I didn’t choose my thread well and unfortunately that intricate quilting doesn’t show up very well.

While I was making “Wedding Dreams” I was also working full time. I spent pretty much every waking hour for ten months trying to complete it before the deadline, but I couldn’t get it done in time. After that exhausting experienced, I realized that I would need to work much smaller for a while so I could get more done.


My next quilt, “Stolen Lives,” came about rather suddenly. Within days of September 11 when the twin towers were destroyed, I thought of the image of two people as the two towers and knew I would need to make a commemorative quilt. About the same time, Karey Bresenhan, Director of the International Quilt Festival, announced that they would have a special exhibit of 9-11 quilts, but they needed the quilts the first week of October. That deadline put me in high gear. I drew the images directly on fabric using Pigma pens. I used my inkjet printer to print the faint American flag on the background. It is done in four panels and it is pieced where the stripes meet. Then I sponge painted the smoke and fire over the background. The buildings are fused applique, and the date at the bottom is hand lettered. I finished it off with free-motion machine quilting.



  
In 2002, I used Tsukineko inks for the first time. I really enjoyed hand painting commercially printed, tone-on-tone fabrics with these inks because they are transparent and the fabric’s pattern still shows through. For several years, I experimented with using the inks to hand paint portraits. “Evening Star” was the first quilt I hand painted. I loved the immediate results, so I used the same technique on “Flight of Fancy” and “Ohio Dreaming.” I’ve always been drawn to geometric quilts, so I used this opportunity to incorporate traditional blocks in a non-traditional way. These three quilts are all fused applique and free-motion, machine quilted.



In 2003, my daughters were in high school and searching for where they would like to go to college. I decided that, even though I was working full-time, I needed to finish my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. That put quiltmaking on hold for a few years while I took art classes, but that didn’t stop my exploration of textile art. When I did my printmaking assignments on paper, I also printed them on fabric. During my last semester before graduation, I took a stack of my lithographs, cut them up, rearranged them, and made “Redeeming Fragments.” I was thrilled when it was juried into my university’s senior show, but I was even more excited when it won a ribbon at the 2006 International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas.



 

In 2009, Pokey Bolton of Quilting Arts Magazine asked me to film a DVD workshop. I was dumbfounded, and couldn’t, for the life of me, think of anything that I could teach. She gently suggested that maybe I could teach about quilted portraits. Duh! So in February 2009 I filmed my “Making Faces” DVD workshop. The beginner’s lesson teaches how to make fused portraits using a digitally altered photograph. “Blue Dave” and “Violinist” are two samples from that workshop.


“Broken Dishes” is an extension of the technique taught in the “Making Faces” DVD. I had this image in my mind for at least ten years before I finally had the opportunity to make this quilt. It was inspired by the name of the traditional quilt block, which is used in the background and on the floor.


In the fall of 2009, I decided that I wanted to finish a quilt top that I started in 2003. “Captivated” is the result. It was inspired by a short story that my daughter was writing about a prince and his friend who escape from the castle and go on an adventure. The portrait is of my daughter who becomes completely engrossed when she is reading. This quilt is completely fused appliqued and machine quilted.


When I showed “Captivated” to a critique group where I’m a member, it wasn’t exactly favorably reviewed. I could agree with many of the comments that were made, and I was motivated to make something new and fresh. The day I got home from my critique group, I gathered up some black and white fabrics, some fabric crayons, and some PaintStiks and we left to go camping in our RV for a couple of days. While we were relaxing, I started “Sheer Whim.” It began with a simple, hand-drawn portrait. Once we got home, I fused a grid of sheer fabrics over the top. I finished it off by machine quilting some fantasy feathers over the top. I completed the 17” square quilt in one week, just in time to meet the deadline for the 2010 International Quilt Festival in Houston. I was honored when it was accepted and subsequently won a ribbon.

Where will I go next? I’m not exactly sure. I have ideas swirling around in my mind, but I’ve been procrastinating. Once my current deadlines are met, I think it will be time to experiment with some more portraits.





 Thank you so much for allowing me to share my stories.
Maria



53 comments:

  1. Utterly amazing. Your work is truly awe inspiring and I thank you for sharing it... Wow!

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  2. Awe inspiring is not the word! Absolutely beautiful pieces of fabric art. I cannot fathom such dedication to putting an expression into fabric and thread. What a wonderful showcase of another part of our fabric world.

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  3. All I can say is "OH MY!" Truly breathtaking, every single quilt! The bride and child quilt is just amazing! They all are! What a lovely post to read before I toddle off to bed and dreams of quilts!!!

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  4. I can't believe how talented Maria is - WOW!!!
    They are all truely beautiful. Thank you for showing us these beautiful quilts.

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  5. I actually took a class from Charlotte Anderson at Quiltfest in Pigeon Forge TN just 2 weeks ago!! Her quilts are unbelievable and you must be her best student!! She was too far over my head and I just couldn't wrap my head around what she was doing. Her use of fusible thread was incredible since I had never heard of the product. You are most certainly an ARTISTE!!
    Blessings
    Gmama Jane

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  6. Maria, your work is INCREDIBLE!!! Such a talent - thanks for sharing.

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  7. Good Morning Maria..I echo the sentiments ....WOW!
    From the first time I laid my eyes on your artistic creations - I was in AWE...still am...After the discussions these past couple days in blogland, I can tell you, YOU are truly a Quilting ARTISTE..and our quilting world is better for knowing YOU. Will we all be ever to do what you do...possibly not..but be awed and inspired oh YES..thank you for the lovely trunk show....

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  8. Wow... Those are truly amazing...

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  9. Thankyou for sharing your amazing work with us. It is just gorgeous and moving.

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  10. Your quilts are amazing. I especially love the Wedding quilt. It's beautiful. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

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  11. Astonishingly beautiful! So creative and thoughtful. The wedding quilt just made me tear up - it really captures the idea of a young girl dreaming of her wedding day. Thanks for sharing your design process and the end results.

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  12. Wow! You are quite the artist, your quilts are beautiful.

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  13. Your quilts are so beautiful Maria. Thank you for sharing them.

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  14. WOW WOW WOW I don't know what e;se tp say.

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  15. I have admired your work for years now. It is wonderful and inspiring! Thank you!!!

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  16. Beautiful work! My son would love the "Flight of Fancy" quilt!

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  17. I'm Speechless!! I just sit there looking with my mouth agape!

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  18. omg awesome! All I can say is AWESOME! Thanks for sharing.

    Linda

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  19. Inspiring. You have a beautiful heart and a gift for showing it.

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  20. I am overwhelmed by the haunting beauty captured with fabric in these quilts. Thank you for allowing us to see these works - they will linger in my thoughts for a very long time. blessings, marlene

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  21. Thank you for sharing these quilts. They are so inspiring. It is amazing how fabric choices can make such beautiful quilts.

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  22. O.H. M.Y.!! Fabulous work. And so interesting to hear the stories behind the quilts. Thank you so much for sharing your talent with us.

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  23. Wow, amazing work! Loved seeing them all!

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  24. Your quilts are amazingly gorgeous. I am awed and grateful that others have been given abilities that I can enjoy. Thanks for sharing with us today.

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  25. Unbelievable!! This was not a trunk show this was a art gallery show. You do beautiful work Marie thank you for sharing them with us.

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  26. You made my morning. What talent. You are truly blessed.

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  27. I am speechless, my mouth is open trying to say something but I cannot speak for i am in awe of your work and talent. Thank you for sharing.

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  28. fabulous! Thank you so much for sharing the process behind your wonderful art!

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  29. Wow! I'm glued to the monitor.......in awe! Thanks for sharing with us.

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  30. Wow! Your work is stunning! I can't come up with enough words for it! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful work.

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  31. Maria I have followed your work from afar over the years. I hope to see it in person some day. I aspire to have that kind of artistry in my quilts!

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  32. Just awesome! You are so blessed with talent! Thank you for sharing with all of us.
    Jacque in SC
    quiltnsrep(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  33. Truly an absolute awesome posting - you are the ultimate artist. I am so glad I have been allowed to see your beautiful work. What an inspiration to us all. Judy C

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  34. What can one say after seeing these quilts other than STUNNING!!! Incredible work.

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  35. So many beautiful pieces. I love your style and the messages in your quilts, really inspiring.

    Debbie

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  36. Amazing sums it up for me !! You are a truly gifted person and I am so glad you have used this gift to make these incredible quilts to share with the world .Keep up creating these masterpieces.

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  37. I love these! What an inspiration! Such creativity! I have an image in my head of one that I want to make but just don't have the ability right now. I am only a few years from retirement and I am going to do this!

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  38. These quilts are created by a true artist. It is difficult to create such life like quilts with fabrics but these definitely are well done. My favorites are the Wedding Ring/bride quilt and the one with the two figures wrapped in a quilt looking at the sky.

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  39. Your critique group must be a pretty tough audience if they didn't like "Captivated." That quilt really speaks to me because it reminds me of how engrossed my own daughter becomes when she reads. I love the way the characters jump out of the book to head off for an adventure.
    Thank you for sharing the photos of your amazing art.

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  40. Awesome! Truly art! Thank you for sharing.

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  41. Unbelievable! Quilts like Maria's make me believe in magic!

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  42. Wow, these are wonderful!!! I have seen some of her quilts before but this was a treasure to read. What an inspiration!!

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  43. Thank you, each and every one of you, for your kind words! They truly are appreciated :)

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  44. Wow! your quilts are fabulous and you are an amazing artist. I wish I was a designer like you and not just a "scraplifter". Congratulations on a beautiful post!

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  45. I saw "Captivated" at Houston last year. I remembered it right away. It was one of my favorite quilts, and my husband loved it too. I thought it captured a concept in a very clear, interesting, beautiful way. I'm with Katie Q above, I think your critique group missed the mark!

    Looking forward to seeing what's next from you,
    Susan in Texas

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You think they are just words...they are sew much more than that...your wee messages tell me, you are kind, smart and important...