Thursday, May 14, 2015

Crazy Mentors

Eight years ago I began blogging.

At that time I had just discovered the practice of crazy quilting.   The mixed-media, anything-goes approach to the art form was a perfect fit for my magpie nature and gatherer personality. 

I sought out as much information as I could find which led me to the websites, blogs and stores of this talented and beautiful group of women you see below.  I fell in love with their work first, spending countless hours soaking up the knowledge they so generously shared...

From left to right:  Susan Elliott, NickiLee Seavey, Lisa Boni, Allie Aller, Maureen Greeson, Betty Pillsbury, Shirlee Fassell
Now I just love them for the greathearted souls they are.  

I have such gratitude for all they've taught me. I wouldn't be the embroiderer I am today without their guidance.  They have left their mark on my work and my life is all the better for their mentorship.

When I heard Allie and Lisa were heading East, I called Maureen to see if we could stop by for a hug.   There is no finer hostess than Maureen Greeson and so she did what any good hostess would...she invited Betty, Shirlee and NickiLee who live within driving distance and we had ourselves a Gathering. 

It was a banner day for us all...sitting around Maureen's table, sharing stories, laughs and our latest work.  Most of us hadn't seen each other since the Crazy Quilt Gathering in 2011 so there was lots to catch up on.



It was one heck of a show and tell!

Allie shared a couple of her quilts but had packed most of them away by the time I got my camera out (sorry Allie)...



She shared her "Be Kind" quilt, the centerpiece of which was a cross stitch by her Uncle Hal's wife.

Detail of "Be Kind" by Allie Aller
It shows an amalgamation of both hand and machine techniques, using crazy quilt fabrics, trims and threads in a traditionally machine-pieced way. Allie's been playing with combining old quilting techniques in new and contemporary ways.  She has authored two books and is working on a third!

Detail of quilt by Allison Aller
Allie has starred in many posts on this blog as we've been friends since the beginning of my blogging life.  You can read them here.  You can follow her on her Facebook page or her blog, Allies in Stitches.

Next up is the magical, marvelous work of Betty Pillsbury...



Her quilts are full of fun, fantasy and the feminine divine...

Detail of Crazy Quilt by Betty Pillsbury




She's also an herbalist and works in union with the fairies to craft healing and medicinal herb products...

Detail of Crazy Quilt by Betty Pillsbury
Love the hand-colored image above and the flow of shibori ribbons in her quilts...

Detail of Crazy Quilt by Betty Pillsbury
You can learn more about Betty and her work at her website, Green Spiral Herbs,  follow her on Facebook and read this post I wrote about Betty's workshop in 2011.

NickiLee Seavey is known for her lace-infused crazy quilts and her Etsy business, Raviolee Dreams where she shares and sells her beautiful hand-dyed laces...


NickiLee brought a work-in-progress where she is appliqueing and embellishing her hand-dyed laces onto an antique quilt base...

Quilt block by NickiLee Seavey
The combination of the old and new is absolutely marvelous...

Quilt block by NickiLee Seavey

And the use of the antique quilt as the basis from which to grow the quilt was brilliant...

Quilt block by NickiLee Seavey
NickiLee can be found on Facebook or on her blog, Raviolee Dreams.  You can also purchase her hand-dyed laces in her Etsy shop here.

Our hostess Maureen Greeson has probably taught me the most because I started following her before I even began blogging.  

Most of my first supplies were bought through her shop (which is closed *sniff*) and she used to publish a newsletter where she provided free motifs and embellishment tips.  I still have all of those tips in my inspiration file.

Maureen didn't want to share anything so I begged her to get out a Four Seasons piece which is still in progress.

I just love her eye for elegance, lace and charming victorian ladies...

Quilt detail by Maureen Greeson
I have always admired this piece and the use of crazy-pieced laces as the background...

Quilt detail by Maureen Greeson
And this wisteria!

Quilt detail by Maureen Greeson
You can find Maureen on Facebook herefollow her blog here or read this prior post I'd written about this generous woman.

I'm also grateful to Maureen for introducing me to this spirited and talented lady, Shirlee Fassell...


Shirlee used to appear as a guest contributor to Maureen's newsletters and her ideas were some of my favorites.

Shirlee has studied tambour embroidery at École Lesage in Paris where I'd like to go one day and is now using what she's learned there to do her own thing.

And boy is she!  Currently, she is combining the traditional concepts of crazy quilting and tambour embroidery using a LunĂ©ville hook and creating works that are altogether new and "Shirlee"...

Quilt detail by Shirlee Fassell
The pieces she brought to share are part of the Crazy Quilt Journal Project for 2015...

Quilt detail by Shirlee Fassell
Her pieces are treasure troves of texture...

Quilt detail by Shirlee Fassell
You can follow Shirlee on Facebook here, her blog, Needle and Hook, here and check out this earlier post I've written about her work.

Last but not least is Lisa Boni of Ivory Blush Roses.  Like Allie, I missed most of her show and tell but did catch the tail end of these stunning blocks she's making for the Crazy Quilt Journal project...

Quilt detail by Lisa Boni
She says that these colors are out of her comfort zone since she normally prefers...well...ivory and blush rose...and green/white...

You would never guess that these were out of her comfort zone...just gorgeous...

Quilt detail by Lisa Boni
Her work is impeccable.  

I didn't have a good individual shot of Lisa but I do have this one of us together sharing our love for margaritas...


And our outfits happen to match the new color scheme of her blocks.  Check out the rose pins that we're both wearing...a gift made by Shirlee with that hook of hers.

You can find Lisa at her blog, Ivory Blush Roses, or follow her on Facebook.

After show and tell, Allie put out a call for ideas by spreading a group of vintage stars that I'd picked up in an antique store.  The ideas were flying and the stars were moved around like chess pieces.


Did you see NickiLee holding Maureen's dog Gracie?  She wanted had her own opinions to add.

It was a rich day, full of connection and kinship, and you can see how stimulating and inspiring this group is.

We are so lucky to have this internet where we can show up on each other's virtual front porches and share our lives, our families and our work.

I never would have dreamed eight years ago that I would be gathering family-style with this talented group of teachers.  And just like meeting up with old high school friends, the internet allows us to "know" each other without ever physically having met.

The wonder of it all.

23 comments:

Maureen said...

I look like I could eat corn on the cob through a picket fence in that photo of me!! Otherwise, Susan, this is a great post!

Betty said...

Susan Baby, it was such a wonderful day! Thank you for sharing it with us. Smiles, straight out belly laughs, creativity, and good hearts - blessings abound. xoxo Betty

Allison Aller said...

Such a soul filling day, full of beauty and laugh attacks galore. Susan, your pictures truly capture the magic of our communal friendship and shared passion. Thank you so much!!!!

deb* said...

what a wonderful post and how lucky are you to have these lovely women in your life!

Lisa Boni said...

It truly was a wonderful day ~ such a delight to meet all these amazing women whose blogs I've followed for so long! Thanks for making this amazing adventure happen for us Susan!

Createology said...

Sharing Kindred Souls with such Creative Bliss is indeed very magical and special. You know I am now going to follow each and every one of these talented ladies you have introduced. I am swooning over all the beautiful and amazing pieces of HeART shared. Blessings Dear...
Congratulations on Eight Years of Blogging!

Vicky aka Stichr said...

Oh My Golly Gosh...you just brought back my need to stitch in one little ole blog post...it's been floundering like a cat in water...thank you Susan!! You and your Crazy Friends are the best! I saved all the links to all the blogs for more brain food.

Moonsilk Stitches said...

What a day! Wow! All bloggers and embroiderer's that I greatly admire. I've also learned a lot from all of you. Thanks for sharing your gathering.

Shirlee Fassell said...

Great post!! Fun and Fabulous "Wall dancing Day"!! SO many laughs ... so much Eye Candy WOW. Susan your work is beyond words .... from a girl that loves detail you make me feel like I am using a pitchfork and have 10 thumbs. Thanks for the great pictures!!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

How wonderful this get-together was for all of you!!! I was glad to see Nicki Lee again and popped over to her blog to leave a note. I've missed her.

I'm going to check out the other ladies blogs too, thank you for sharing.

Margarita's are my favorite drink too. ;-)

Happy Creating ~ FlowerLady

gracie said...

Absolutely wonderful pictures. Thank you for sharing

Rachel said...

What a wonderful day it must have been!

Bekah said...

Oh my - all of this is stunningly beautiful! The hours and hours of work!
Simply breathtaking and so inspiring :)

NickiLee said...

What a fabulous time I had with all you wonderful ladies - a special treat for sure! I was honored to be included in this great group of talented ladies and have to admit, I hadn't laughed that hard in a long time. Thank you for suc a wonderful post.

Lisa Greenbow said...

This was a gathering of masters. What an inspiration you all are...and yes the internet can be a blessing.

Lorraine said...

Looks like a fabulous day Susan - thank you for sharing it. Your beautiful photos capture some incredible work. Your gathering made me think of the seminar/retreat Maureen used to host - would love to see something like this offered again with perhaps some of these talented artists teaching - hint hint....

Judy S. said...

Sounds like a great time! All that talent in one place!

Betsy said...

What a wonderful, fun day you all had together!!! I love each woman's incredibly unique and amazing work! I know Maureen a little from the Facebook group she sells bits of her stash on. I really enjoy looking at her work! Love the vintage stars!!! I have a set of vintage Dresden Plates that were from my mother' s stash. What a fun filled day!!!
Hugs,
Betsy

margaret said...

what a wonderful time you must have all had and thanks for sharing so much of it with us good to see all the crazy patchwork

Suztats said...

Looks like a wonderful time was had by all! I have been following all these ladies for some time now, and I've learned so much from each one! Having everyone in the same room must have been an explosion of creative energy!

SuperMomNoCape said...

What an amazing day that would have been! The crazy quilt projects you shared are each so unique and beautifully done.

I've recently started a weekly Stitchery Link Party for all things hand embroidered and I would love to have you come link up this post so that my readers can learn about these ladies and their work too.
http://www.supermomnocape.com/2015/05/18/vintage-embroidery-monday-stitchery-link-party-6/

If you haven't participated in a link party before I have a quick tutorial available. I do hope you'll come join in.

Jill said...

Thank you for sharing the fun "gathering" and the wonderful projects and links.

La Bastidane said...

Love this post, the divas of crazy. Merci.

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