Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Art of The Kitchen: Michigan Quilt Artsits Invitational

I am sharing information about an art quilt exhibit which begins in Flint MI and then travels throughout Michigan into 2012. The group is Michigan Quilt Artists Invitational and was created by Mary Andrews and Marty Calhoun. Each year there is a theme and this years theme is "Art in The Kitchen." I have been part of this group for two years so I am familiar with the rules. The quilts need to be sized to 20 x 24 either horizontal or vertical, any color or style, any embellishments need to be containdr because of travel and the pieces are available for sale. There will be an opening reception on Friday, September 9, 2011 at the exhibit location Greater Flint Arts Council Gallery in Flint MI from 6-9 EST. If you live near Flint or are in the area check it out because the exhibit is amazing. It's fun to see how aproximately 60 fiber artists interpret the theme of the invitational. Contact Mary Andrews for the complete traveling schedule.

Perhaps there is some crossover between the SAQA MI members and the MQAI members. If you are one of these artists and are willing to share your piece on this blog please e-mail me at and I will post it. Don't be shy and share for the people who may not attend the exhibit.  Thank you!

Have a creative and abundant day, Laurie

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

SAQA Michigan Profile of the Month: Lauren Strach

The SAQA MI Member Profile of the Month is Lauren Strach. Please take the time to view Lauren's work, her perspective on her art and it's processes and her goals for the future.

Lauren in front of "First Snow" 2011. 60 x 55.
How long have you been sewing and when did you begin making art quilts?
I started taking traditional quilting classes about 13 years ago when my late husband became terminally ill. I was home with him, and two small daughters, and quilting became my release. After he passed away, and I went back to my career as a college professor of marketing, I didn't have time to quilt, but continued to buy patterns, books and fabric, and I would plan the quilts I would make when I had the time. That is all still in a corner of my studio, untouched, but at the time, it was an important artistic outlet!
As my girls got older, my interests in the type of quilts I was drawn to started to change. Then I picked up "Thread Magic" by Ellen Anne Eddy, and my creative world changed. I discovered that Ellen lived only an hour away from where I lived, and that she did private tutoring in her studio. I called her, signed up, and never looked back.

MAAC Solo Gallery Show

Describe your art and its inspiration.
My inspiration, like so many other quilters, comes from nature. I am a Master Gardener, and am lucky enough to have an extensive garden, with two water ponds, and many perennial beds. I live on a ravine, with a creek at the bottom, so I am daily surrounded by inspiration. Nature has always been an important part of who I am and it is an important part of the creative lens that I view my world through. So, it is only natural that that the vocabulary of my work comes from this inspiration.

Where do you do most of your artwork?

I am lucky enough to have a third floor studio space, with large dormer windows, overlooking my garden. I can look up and see the sun and the clouds and all the drama of the sky, I can look out into the branches of the trees and watch the squirrels and the birds, and I can look down, and see the tiny koi swimming in the water.

What are your goals?
My goals are to continue pursuing this artistic journey as fully as possible. I continue taking classes, learning new textile techniques. I am also expanding and developing my skills in other areas of art, such as pastels, drawing, photography (which I use to constantly document the changing garden landscape), and watercolor painting. I believe that if I continue to work hard, show up, and be dedicated, that there is a reason I have been given this passion. 

Do you teach, lecture, curate or have a business of your artwork?
Not at this point. I took an early retirement from my teaching position, so I have already had the experience of teaching professionally. I am still focused on learning and developing as much as I can.

Where can your work be seen?
I have had pieces accepted at the International Quilt Show in Houston for the past three years, and have two new pieces that I just mailed off for the 2011 show. I have also had quilts accepted into the AQS show in Paducah, the Minnesota Quilters Show, and various Mancuso shows. My quilt, "Saguaro Familia" won a third place ribbon at the Pacific International Show, and "Abundance: Pumpkins and Vines" was a finalist in the $100,000 Quilt Challenge.
I have also entered quilts each year in the local Michiana art competition at the Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph, Michigan. I have won "Best In Show" twice, which has been a great honor.

What are your interests outside of art?.
My other main interests are gardening and photography and garden photography! All of which feed directly into my art quilts! And, I love to travel, and taking quilting classes around the U.S. has given me the opportunity to spend time in many beautiful and interesting parts of the country. And, of course, my family is a blessing as they support my continued devotion to my art!
The SAQA MI member profiled this month is Lauren Strach. Please take the time to view Lauren's beautiful and colorful work and learn about her, the art processes she uses and how she is inspired.

"Flora in Wonderland" 2011. 55 x 69

"Flora in Wonderland" Detail
New Work "Spring Botanica" 2011. 18 x 42

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Co-reps for Michigan

My name is Laurie Ceesay and I along with Anne Hiemstra are the new SAQA Michigan Reps.

Robbie Payne and Mary Andrews have finished their "tour of duty" and fulfilled their time as the Michigan Co-Reps for SAQA. We will be posting on the MI blog and managing what needs to be done for the MI area of SAQA. Anne and I will take monthly turns with postings-I have August  and Anne has September. I see there are 60ish members and only about a 1/4-1/3 of the members follow this blog. Are some members not signing up and pop in now and then? If you know members that are not followers could you recommend this blog to them? I am a bit competitive since I noticed the WI/IL blog has lots of followers-we can do better than them!!!

I have lived in  Michigan 4+ yrs. after living in Appleton, Wi forever. I live in Menominee, in the UP, and am not real familiar with the state and I have never been to Lower MI so learning all the cities the members live in will be a learning experience. I joined SAQA two yrs. ago and chose to take on this position to get more involved in this group which is so informative and has awesome opportunities. Are there any other members from the UP?

A few of my goals is to post upcoming call to entries, acknowledge members and their accomplishments, possibliy have a MI art quilt challenge and/or a mini seminar. Any feedback or suggestions would be appreciated!!

I have included a photo of myself so you know who I am.
Thank you, Laurie Ceesay, MI Co-Rep