August 2019: Journey of an art quilter

What happened to my ruler?

art quilterFor our August meeting, we welcomed Christine Hager-Braun, an art quilter who was born in Germany and moved to Durham, NC with her husband to continue their careers as research scientists. Twenty years later, she is still here and has transitioned to being a professional fiber artist.

The title of Christine’s presentation was “What happened to my ruler?” – she shared how soon after making a traditional quilt for her grandmother, she decided to abandon straight lines and tried piecing by hand and then raw edge appliqué to incorporate curves into her designs. Unlike with a traditional quilt where we find a pattern and use it, as an artist, Christine creates original designs for her quilts, and each design is only used once. She takes her inspiration from many places including science, landscapes, and human healing/balance/inner peace.

Christine shared quilts from many of her original designs with us, and a few photos are included below, but the best way to view high-quality images of her work and understand the context for each piece is to visit her website, Soular Power Fabric Art and check out her many galleries including:

  • Nebulae – based on images of nebulae
  • More Than Just the Sum –  photos of quilts inspired by microscopic images of slices of wood
  • Fluid Sculptors – ARTQUILTSrivers was a joint project between PAQA-South and the Taiwan Art Quilt Society (TAQS) in which 12 quilters – 6 from each country created a panel with the goal of a flowing river.
  • Recent abstract landscapes
  • Symbols of Longevity – pieces commissioned by the Mayo Clinic
  • Roter Faden is a German expression literally translated as “Red Thread”; however, its meaning is “Common Thread”. All the pieces in the series have a sliver of red fabric and red thread included.


Christine closed by reminding us that change is inevitable and may be due to changes in the environment/space, changes in our health (eyesight, arthritis), changes in style/patterns/complexity, and/or changes in artistic focus.

She encouraged us to find others who support us, and if changes prevent us from doing well what we’ve done in the past, to team up with others who may have strengths we lack. She suggested we set goals, reach them, and set higher goals and to be patient and passionate and follow our dream. She also invited us to her upcoming solo exhibition, Alchemy of Resilience, September 6-27 in Southern Pines.

You may find additional inspiration and inner peace by reading or subscribing to Christine’s Monday Mantra blog posts.

Taking care of business

  • Debbie
    • welcomed new member, Cindy, and Kathy’s guest from California.
    • encouraged everyone to join the fun and fellowship by taking part in Saturday sew days scheduled for September 14 and October 12.
    • urged members to use the fabric in our guild stash for charity and boutique and to check in with Arlene in the church office if you visit during the week to let her know you are in the building.
    • reminded everyone that Lisa R needs balance for fall retreat no later than our September meeting.
  • Lynn discussed plans for a cookbook, suggesting we focus on soup recipes so they can be sold at boutique events along with our popular soup koozies. Members voted via secret ballot to do this, and Lynn will follow up.
  • Teresa reported on excellent sales at the expo event in Raleigh and urged members to get packets from her and sell tickets to friends and relatives or buy them and give them as gifts.
  • Sylvia asked for three volunteers as required by our bylaws to join her on the nominating committee to create a slate of officers and committee chairs for 2020. Lisa J, Helen J, and Maxine volunteered.
  • Amy discussed our overflowing stash and her belief that more is coming in than is going out. The charity committee met before the meeting and approved guidelines for using fabric from the stash.
    • If the fabric is to be used for boutique or charity items, go for it.
    • If it is for a personal project and you run short or have a project in mind, you may take fabric from the stash, and if you are so moved, you can make a donation of cash to the guild.
    • You should NOT relocate fabric from the guild stash to your personal stash.
    • It is NOT acceptable to use the guild stash for items you might sell for profit.
  • Amy also asked members to think about ideas for charity sewing for next year and to report any items donated to charity – even if not one of the guild’s chosen charities. Tallies of these items are reflected in the “Where your money goes” flyer.
  • Amy asked for volunteers to bind quilts made by Gail’s friend Joyce from Michigan. Joyce made the quilts and Gail quilted them for our guild’s charities.
  • Miranda encouraged everyone to finish up their mystery quilts and asked that we bring them to the December meeting – even if not complete; however, owners of completed quilts (quilted, bound, labeled) may be eligible for prizes.
  • Lisa J reported that after asking for a larger budget for hospitality, she was encouraged by the board to draft a letter that can be taken to area businesses asking for donations of door prizes – gift cards, notions, etc. Lisa had copies of the letter and the “where your money goes” flyer to share with potential donors about our work.
  • Barbara B and Phyllis were winners in the name tag drawing.

Show and Tell

Ann A apparently has 11 of her 23 UFOs completed – stiff competition for the rest of us!


Ann L remade the center of a quilt started by one of Helen D’s students and finished it up. Helen J recently found a “lost” holiday quilt that had been put in a drawer for safe keeping. Janet says she ran out the motors on three machines quilting a LOT of bubbles on her quilt.


Lisa J was thrilled that her husband Brian has learned to use his mother’s (Helen J) quilting machine. She shared two quilts that she pieced and he quilted.


Amy shared a paper-pieced project she described as BC – before Carl who led our paper-piecing workshop. She also shared a star quilt she plans to donate to a family her office staff is building a Habitat house for. Her final quilt was made from plaid churn dash blocks she and Gail won last August in our block of the month drawing. Amy cut them up and reassembled them, and Gail did the quilting.


Catherine wanted to create a lone star quilt for her son and was able to find a pattern that used squares instead of triangles. She then reduced the size of the squares and made a smaller one. She was thrilled to be invited to Ann A’s house to take scraps for cat beds, but ended up using some of them to make quilt tops – and also made a lot of cat beds! She shared two cat-themed quilts – one of her own design onto which she plans to add some mice, and one with appliquéd cats after learning from Sheila’s workshop.


Maxine shared a U.S. flag quilt in honor of her recent anniversary, finished another wall hanging with scenes of covered bridges, and shared a tulip quilt that was downsized from the original plan.


Helen D has been busy sewing for children including a family with a 2 year old and newborn triplets. She made stuffed elephants and a quilt for each child as well as finishing some additional ones.


Vernett shared a jelly roll quilt with borders as well as three pillowcases she made for Lynn. Her second quilt was one she made from 2 1/2″ squares from fabric strips collected over many visits to MidState. She was outdone to return later and find the same fabric in fat quarters.


Barbara T shared a quilt she finished for Frances. Frances pieced the blocks long ago, and Barbara adopted them, put them together, added borders, and quilted it with a flower design per Frances’s request.


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