Posts Tagged ‘art quilts’

Social Media and the Solitary Quilter

April 26, 2017

Creating art is usually a solo journey. I am lucky enough to have collaborators for some of my fiber art and fiction, but most of my work is done alone. Social media is useful for promoting one’s work, but first you have to get something finished. I started this blog to help me move from solitary quilter in a quagmire of a studio to fiber artist with something to show for it. It was a daunting experiment.

I called this corner Fort Longshore

I’ve worked diligently, finished some things, but my studio still looks like this.

The foundation of a fort on my sewing table

The sad truth is, I have so many stacks of works-in-progess and ideas-that-deserve-more-attention and oh-isn’t-this-a-cute-fabric that my studio will probably always look like the aftermath of a warehouse explosion. However, I figure if one part of social media could make me a little more productive perhaps another part could help as well. Julain Kleist-Corwin, a good friend and wonderful writer, recommended Instagram, and now I’m on that. I believe you can find me as lanilongshore, but if you search under #artquiltsantafe you should find my posts.

My intention is to post once a day, and focus on what I’ve accomplished. Yeah, that was the plan. I’ve already put up many days of flowers blooming in our garden because I did bupkus in the sewing room.

There is always art in the garden

I’ve also posted art quilts I made a long time ago. This is one of them.

Called Window, because it reminds me of a window open to the stars

Blogging once a week helped me to get over my fear of messing up a project, because I wanted to have something to write about. I’m hoping that posting on Instagram once a day will keep me working on a project even when I’m out of ideas because a picture of something is better than a picture of nothing. Check in on my progress (or lack thereof) if you have a free moment.

Luck and wisdom!


The Year For Design

January 11, 2017

I prefer to make New Year’s projects rather than New Year’s resolutions, and this year’s big project just made itself known. My art quilt critique group started the exercises in Art Quilt Collage by Deborah Boschert. The latest assignment was in design basics. I had a few minutes and very little brainpower, so I knew I wouldn’t overthink things. I grabbed some scraps of fabric and batting. A long strip of batting and a piece of watery fabric became the beginning of a high horizon seascape.Lani Longshore seascape

I decided to continue with the water theme, mainly because I unearthed a strip of trout fabric and a batting strip of the appropriate size. The next step was to experiment with grids, so I quilted the trout to the batting, cut out nine squares, and zig-zagged them together again. This is the back, showing the basic grid.

Lani Longshore grid back

I didn’t mind the back seams showing, but I wanted to cover the ones in front. Narrow strips zig-zagged in place did the trick, and I added some extra strips to enhance the grid.

Lani Longshore grid design

The best part about these exercises is that I really like using commercial print fabrics in my art quilts, but a lot of fiber art today is made from hand-dyes and solids. If I cut into my stash, I feel as if I must have a brilliant idea to complete. Since I’m only using leftovers, my ego investment is limited. If the project works, great; if not, at least I’ve reduced the size of the scrap pile. As it happens, I like what I’ve done so far, and have some ideas for embellishment that will turn these exercises into art. Someday.

Luck and wisdom!

Finding Focus

October 12, 2016

I’m building two quilts from the base up, letting the fabric tell me what it wants next. Turns out the fabrics I chose all have different plans, and while they are quite willing to sit next to each other they can’t agree on the direction the quilt should take. They have no focus.

Lani Longshore cityscape

This is my cityscape, which started when I made a mistake measuring. I found some other architectural fabric that I like. There is room in the white rectangles to create a focal point. I will be extremely happy when I know what that focal point should be.

Lani Longshore map quilt

This is my map quilt, which looks very different up close while beading than it does in a picture. I can see that I need to do something around the edges to tell the viewer “stop here.” I wanted the eye to travel easily over the surface, so there are several interest points. I’m not sure that qualifies as focus.

Lani Longshore beading detail

My go-to technique is always beading. There is room to add larger beads, or even make bead clusters, as soon as the piece starts talking to me.

Lani Longhore embroidery detail

My second favorite technique is embroidery. These trees reinforce the idea that this fabric represents hills. Perhaps the threads are too subtle if I feel the need to explain the image.

Lani Longshore map detail

Writing on quilts is a new technique for me. This compass is also subtle, perhaps even delicate. Perhaps too cautious?

The great thing about art quilts is that there is always room to try one more thing. These quilts may be in progress for some little while, but I’m learning as I go, and that’s good news.

Luck and wisdom!

A Random Collection of Fuzz Balls

March 16, 2016

The allergy pixies took out their sledge hammers and pounded me into submission this week. Everything has come to halt. My energy level is in negative numbers. My brain is a random collection of fuzz balls.

Before my sinuses decided to secede from the rest of my body, I started a collage with my buffalo collection.

Lani Longshore buffalo collage

Although I like what I see, I know it would be unwise to do anything permanent at this time. With the help of some scraps, my pom-pom collection, and a bit of glue, I created an image of what my brain feels like.

A picture of a real brain, and an image of mine

A picture of a real brain, and an image of mine

With any luck, whatever is blooming will run its course soon. Until then, I’m staying away from heavy machinery and sewing needles.

Luck and wisdom, and health to all!


March 9, 2016

My Art Quilt Critique Group is discussing repetition as a design element next week. Since I was already in the midst of the Yellowstone panel project, I thought I would let it do double duty by showing theme and variation with the last two panels.

Lani Longshore Yellowstone panel

The third panel shows Old Faithful exploding against a gorgeous cloudy sky. I found a lovely sky print to repeat that element. I knew I was going to use the pink stripe, but needed to put another border around the panel first. The piece didn’t quite seem finished with the pink, so I found another stripe (which is actually a double stripe if you look closely).

Lani Longshore Yellowstone panel detail

I used the purple rickrack A) because it was there and B) because the blue and pink needed a bit more separation.

Lani Longshore Yellowstone panel window

The last panel is a lovely window scene. I adore that craftsman/prairie/wright look, and wanted to repeat it with piecing. Then I actually thought about all the piecing and said, “Self, let’s simplify.”

Lovely window to look at, not to make

Lovely window to look at, not to make

The buffalo fabric repeats the red from the lettering on the panel, and uses some of my buffalo fabric. I have several more pieces of buffalo fabric, which I have artfully arranged on the cutting table until they inspire me, along with a buffalo button and a copper buffalo pendant. You’ll see more of that collection soon, whether you want to or not.

Luck and wisdom!

Parks 2 – The Yellowstone Potholder Kit

March 2, 2016

We had a family reunion in Yellowstone years ago. I bought a kit of four panels reproducing old posters from the park. The kit came with instructions to make potholders. Seriously? These are way too cute for potholders.

Lani Longshore yellow art quilt

I inserted the blue cording, and will couch it with beads. There may be more beads, but I’ll decide that later.

Lani Longshore red-green art quilt

The red-green quilt may get some beaded animal appliques that I got from a friend who was moving. Or maybe buttons. Or maybe both.

Lani Longshore work in progress

I’m still auditioning fabric for the last two panels. This one may be close to the sewing stage. At any rate, I’m having a lot more fun making small art quilts than potholders.

Luck and wisdom!


September 25, 2013

I’ve been thinking about what lies underneath – what is unseen, but necessary for future growth. I wanted to show hibernation for my November calendar project. Starting with floral prints in browns and grays, I strip-pieced a base and embroidered dead plants and roots.

The earth below

The earth below

Stitches with variegated thread

Stitches with variegated thread

My idea got a jump-start with Laura Wasilowski’s hand-dyed embroidery threads.

Color + texture = fun!

Color + texture = fun!

For all the notes, sketches and supplies I keep stacked in the sewing room, my ideas are a lot like roots and seeds hiding under the ground. With the right amount of rain and sunshine, some of them poke through and flower. Others wait for the next season. It’s sort of like magic, until the hard work of growing the project begins.

Countdown to Something

December 5, 2012

My kids may be grown, but I still buy them Advent calendars every year (chocolate-filled, of course). There’s something about opening little boxes and getting a surprise that everyone loves – or at least everyone I know. The promise of a reward is a great motivator, in work and in art.

Since it is the season of giving, I’ve incorporated the promise of reward and delight in boxes with my need to make presents. Here is the first of what I hope will be a series of treasure boxes:

chenille treasure box

I’m experimenting with chenille because the sequel to Death By Chenille should be available in April 2013. That book will be called When Chenille Is Not Enough.

The promise of reward in art is to find something delightful from every angle. The Challenge projects I showed earlier needed to reward the viewer for a close examination, so I added some embellishments. This is one of the pieces as viewed on a wall:

Alaska quilt

This is the reward for taking a second look:

Alaska quilt detail

Here are a few of the others I made:

This is how I secured the peacock feather

This is how I secured the peacock feather

Fish, moose and puffin - what more could you want

Fish, moose and puffin – what more could you want

My idea of reindeer games

My idea of reindeer games

Getting these small pieces embellished for the meeting was the first of my countdowns. There are still a few other projects with their own countdowns on my to-do list. Here’s hoping all our year-end countdowns go smoothly!

Here’s When A Do-over Would Be Nice

August 22, 2012

To give you an idea of how far behind I am, last week’s to-do list is still on top of my piles. I sort of know where the time went, because we had two exterior doors replaced and the kids’ belongings were delivered by the moving people. The door replacement project did not begin on a good note – I spent the morning telling the supplier that we were not going to accept one of the doors (it had a dent) and since it was a stock door he could jolly well find another one and pay for it to be delivered while the contractor was still here. The kids’ belongings arrived in good order but now comes the unpacking.

One of the pleasant surprises of the week was that our daughter’s couch fits nicely in the living room. We knew it would fit the space because we measured, but there’s fitting and and then there’s fitting. We had never had a couch in the living room before because we wanted it to be a music/reading room. After all those years of having just two comfy chairs, bookshelves and a grand piano I convinced myself there wasn’t space for a couch. Now that I know I am wrong, I guess I’m going to have to look at couches when she gets her own apartment.

In the  meantime, a week has passed and I got in the sewing room only long enough to repair the pillow my husband uses for back support. Since I have nothing new to show you, I thought I would post an old picture of a past project:

This is a quilt I made for Sacred Threads, a biennial exhibition for quilts with a spiritual connection – healing, grief, peace, the spiritual journey. If you are interested, you can get more information at The next show is in 2013, with entry deadlines between January 9 and March 9, 2013. I had one quilt accepted for showing long ago, and have entered at odd times since then. The quilt above – City of God – didn’t make it, but I’m thinking this might be the year I enter again.

Of course, that assumes that the weeks between then and now will be a whole lot more productive than this past week. At the rate unexpected time sinks are appearing in my path, that may not be a reasonable assumption to make!


Fragile Immortality

August 3, 2011

My sewing room is overflowing today, and will be for some little while. Ann Anastasio – co-author with me of Death by Chenille, co-producer of Art Quilt Santa Fe – gave me half of her stash for my prison class.

I’m thrilled to get it, of course; not so keen on storing it. Right now it’s in bags in the sewing room, my daughter’s room, the garage, under the piano. My husband is even less keen on storing it, but he can see me moving it about, so there it is.

I intend to put it in bins, eventually. Ann has promised me some of hers, and I might even be able to get some from my husband. He is buying plastic bins for reorganizing his tools, drill bits, nails, fasteners and the like. He found some small purple bins on one of his trips to the hardware store and got some for me.

He bought me the little cute ones for my buttons and embellishments. I’ll need bigger ones for the fabric, but I’m not certain which size yet. Certainly larger than a shoebox, which is another thing Ann gave me, the shoebox containing the time capsule for the Challenge Group.

This is our second time capsule. We made the first one when the group started and opened it a few years ago.

This is also the second time capsule that I’m in now. The other one is for the California Writers Club. I’m in it because I was fortunate enough to be selected for the Jack London service award from my local branch, and a list of all the award winners is part of the collection. The capsule was presented and sealed at the awards ceremony. It will be opened in 2035.

It’s an odd feeling, being in the California Writers Club time capsule. There is a fragile immortality to having your name on a list preserved for the future. Which brings me back to Ann.

Like all of us, Ann has stacks of tops and completed quilts. She is also an art quilter, so many of her pieces have no obvious home. As she was cleaning out her sewing room, she started wondering what would happen to all of her quilts. She made these pieces to express her artistic vision, and preserve part of herself for the future.

But how to do it? How to make sure your work doesn’t get turned into dog bed covers after you’re gone? What should be done, for instance, with Rocket Chicken?

I’m thinking of turning it into a table cloth. How are you planning to secure your place in history?

Who else is watching but us chickens?