Thought for a lifetime

Einstein made the very important observation that " Imagination is more important than knowledge ".

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Jill Courtemanche + Heidi Paul = Hats !

Found an amazing milliner that has set up shop 
in beautiful Solano Beach in San Diego, CA

The good news is that the very experienced, professional trained
milliner; Jill Courtemanche 
offers occasional 2 day workshops at
her small jewel of a store.

Jill demonstrating blocking a felt hat
The best news is that in January I had the opportunity to attend
her two day workshop on blocking a hat.

Jill only has a fraction of the hat blocks ( the wooden forms that the hats are stretched onto )
compared to my most favorite milliner; Wayne Wichern.
Wayne easily has at least 200+ blocks.
But, Jill has the basics and great suggestions for manipulating the shapes.

I think it is important to learn from multiple instructors.
Jill has the education and has worked for a New York milliner
but, I would describe her approach to blocking hats 
more laid back and relaxed.
She also has a fantastic sense of humor.

All the students in the workshop left extremely happy
with their final product.

This is my final happy hat :)


Another weekend in January,
another workshop
another hat,
but, what a different journey!

Heidi Paul is an amazing felt artist 
that also makes hats

Heidi has a gallery in Stinson Beach, which is just north of San Francisco.
She taught this workshop at the San Francisco studio
of my favorite milliner, Wayne Wichern.

I have never felted anything before so 
it was a long strange trip…
with some wool
a ball

some special tricks and tips,

soap, water and lots of agitation ( of the wool  ),
a few more techniques and 
in about 2 hours you've made a hat!

This is the actual hat Heidi made right in front of the students

This method of felting a hat on a ball was developed by Beth Beede,
and Heidi is very, very good at it.

After Heidi made her hat then it was the student's turn :)
These are the two wool colors I chose for my hat.

And two hours later I was actually wearing my hat!
Not a big fan of the shape on my head so 
I will be steaming my hat and re-blocking it into a different shape.

But, what is so exciting to me is the possibility of 
creating my own hat blanks that I can then shape 
however I wish.

I am currently hunting down all the necessary supplies
to try this hat on a ball at home.

I will definitely blog about the results.

Okay, so I got ambitious and DID re-block my Heidi Paul felted hat.

The finished hat is more structured and not so organic.

I really, really like it :) and am so excited
that I made it from raw wool.

Talk about one of a kind!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hoffman Challenge 2015

One of the most popular exhibits at the 
Road to California 
is always the winners of the 
Hoffman Challenge.

The fabric in the background was the 2014 challenge fabric

Over 25 years ago Hoffman fabrics started challenging fiber artists 
to create a traveling showcase of a featured Hoffman fabric.

The challenge has grown from 94 fiber artists in 1988 to more than 700 entries
for 2014 in quilts, dolls, clothing, and accessories.

The juried pieces become a traveling exhibit displayed at shows, shops, museums, and other venues.

It is always fun to see the extremely creative usage of the Hoffman challenge fabric. 

And I challenge anyone to view the whimsical dolls without smiling :)

And this is the challenge fabric for 2015!
For all the rules and prizes go to
714 614-7228

Hoffman Fabric booth had a scrapbook of all 25 years of challenge fabrics

...and if you think only accomplished fiber artists are selected for the traveling exhibit
take heart!

This is the Hoffman challenge fabric from 1998 
when my mom and I had our crazy appliquéd, pieced, jacket
selected to be part of the Hoffman Challenge traveling exhibit!

Road to California 2015

On a beautiful, very windy January day in Southern California
I had the extreme pleasure of attending the GIANT
Road to California Quilt show.

This is the 20th year of the show and it has grown from a small Southern California event
to over 1,000 quilts on display, 230 vendor$, and over $90,000 in cash prizes!

And the cash prizes are pretty impressive!
Almost as impressive as the quilts;
which you know take hundreds of hours to create.

A photo will never do justice to the actual beauty of these amazing 
fiber arts,

 because a quilt isn't just composing a pleasing color palate,
the actual fabric construction and painstaking hand work is mind-boggling.

Quilting is not a fast endeavor.
To be a successful quilter you must enjoy the journey 
and each moment that adds up to hundreds of hours.

 This could be an oil painting in a museum but, instead of a quick dash of a brush,
each element is fabric hand stitched onto a lovely textured and stitched background.
You really must see it to believe it.

And the big $10,000 winner of the show really highlights how a photo just cannot convey 
the workmanship, beautiful fabric and and mastery of a skill when it all comes together.

Just realize that everything you are seeing was created by someone hand stitching.
Quilts have come a long way from the prairie.

I have been to this show for probably over a decade and 
a new twist are the Special Exhibits;
which are basically smaller, themed quilts

The 150th anniversary of the state parks was the theme for 57 quilts 
made by the Sew-ciety of Redding, CA.

The quilts were all wonderful and I recognized a lot of the state parks :)

There was also a hilarious theme of dozens of random holidays.
Who knew such days existed. 

Power to the nerds !!

A new reason to wake up happy on December 6 !!

Another interesting concept was the inner self portrait
There were many very interesting images of people's inner muse

and I really enjoyed every one.

Can you guess what was the theme of these quilts??

But, by far my most favorite Special Exhibit was " Inspired by the Beatles "
There were 150 (!! ) quilts in this exhibit.

Can you guess ? She Came in Through the Bathroom Window!

Why Don't We do It in the Road ? 

And this one was so clever:
Happiness is a Warm Gun
and the artist interpreted with a glue gun !!

And then there were the general quilts and there were lots and lots of beautiful entries.
Of course I really like more quirky ones and I was not disappointed.

Another HUGE part of the show were the vendors;
all 230 of them!!

There were zillions of unique products and some I had never seen,
 also lots of really fun demos .

One of my favorite demos was a birdie luggage tag.
Love a good birdie.

And then I met the most interesting vendor.
Mary Jo Hiney
who not only sells the most beautiful ribbons but,
also is an instructor online at Craftsy
AND has a line of flower patterns coming out soon for Vogue.

Mary Jo is a very talented, nice lady and I am really fortunate I got to meet her.
Plus she had some very good tips for successful ribbon flowers.

All in all, any day with my Mom is a great day.

But, sharing a day in her world of quilts
with all the inspiring fabric art 
and vendors with amazing products
gets my creative energizes 
supercharged !!!