Mini Maker Faire Saturday!

From 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday at the Adventure Science Center in Nashville, come check out the robots, star ships, printers, and a whole variety of humanoid-made inventions at the Mini Maker Faire. Tony Youngblood wrote about it his monthly column “Art in Formation” in Nashville Arts:

“The Nashville faire is one of over one hundred Mini Maker Faires held all over the world. The event is licensed by Maker Media, publisher of Make Magazine and producer of the official faires in New York City and the Bay Area, and organized by Nashville groups such as the Adventure Science Center, ArtsCubed, Make Nashville, NashMicro, and the Middle Tennessee Robotic Arts Society. ASC’s Jeff Krinks says this year’s faire ‘will be even bigger than last year’s and chock full of exciting exhibits and hands-on demos.’ In addition to panels, performances, workshops, and the return of popular exhibits like Chris Lee’s ever-growing full scale Millennium Falcon, Krinks says the faire will feature ‘robotics, 3D puzzles, creative smart-art, origami, electronic gadgets, props and costumes, sculpting, crafts, and much more.'”

Tony and I will be at a booth with our many inventions. Come by to get a hand-sewn wristlet with a 3D printed Make Nashville key chain. We’ll be sewing and 3D printing all day, and we’ll also have our home carbonating system, so you can get refreshed with a fizzy beverage. In addition, Tony will be hosting a paper craft workshop at noon, and he’ll be teaching participants to make movable figures from just paper and glue. Hope to see you there!

3D printed, hand-sewn souvenirs we'll have at our booth Saturday at the Mini Maker Faire

3D printed, hand-sewn souvenirs we’ll have at our booth Saturday at the Mini Maker Faire

It’s a Quilt Show, Ya’ll!

I’m so excited about the Modern Quilt Show at The Fabric Studio happening this Saturday, I’m throwing “ya’ll’s” into the world! I’ve posted about this awesome sewing store in WeHo before. I attended the Washi Dress class here with Miss Make’s Devon lott, and it’s one of my go-to shops for fabric, even if it’s just a pack of owner Nancy Conger’s scraps (the girl has an unbelievable sense of color!) She’ll be pulling out all the stops this weekend with her first ever quilt show, which will be right in the neighborhood of Arts and Music @ Wedgewood-Houston. Please stop by to see some striking quilts, including one of my own! 

Owner Nancy Conger was inspired by other cities organizing outdoor quilt shows, like this one on Mass Ave in Indianapolis.

Owner Nancy Conger was inspired by other cities organizing outdoor quilt shows, like this one on Mass Ave in Indianapolis.

Other Sewing Stuff

Nancy just posted a host of fall classes, sewing labs, and stitching socials. I had never made a garment prior to taking the Washi dress class, and I found instructor Devon lott to be patient, sharp, and very fun. She explained the “why” behind every stitch, so I can repeat the skills I learned.  The Fabric Studio is also now selling fat quarters! I think my next project is going to be a wall quilt with the new Cotton + Steele collection. Or, I can use one of the tons of fabric I already have…err…

The Fancy Fox quilt is not quite complete, but I’m working on it! I promise it will be done by Saturday. 

Watching Star Trek while I quilt with the 3D printed phone stand Tony Youngblood designed!

Watching Star Trek while I quilt with the 3D printed phone stand Tony Youngblood designed!

fox quilt data


Shop Local: New Fabric Store in We-Ho

If you couldn’t tell from my post about Quilt Week, I am addicted to textiles. The Fabric Studio, a new shop in Wedgewood-Houston that offers unique and modern fabrics, hard-to-find patterns, and sewing classes, is sure to enable my obsession.  It opened last month and couldn’t come at a better time or be in a better place. Located at 221 Chestnut Street, it’s just a hop away from Chestnut Studios and Fort Houston. As soon as we walked in, my partner and I both envisioned the studio as a stop on the First Saturday Art Crawl.

fabric studio fabric

Owner Nancy Conger’s taste is impeccable. Her stock holds fabrics that resist the ordinary from designers like Nani Iro, Robert Kaufman, and Cloud 9. Most go for $11-$13/yd., but unlike other fabric stores in the area, they feel exquisite and sew like a dream. They’re truly worth your hard-earned cash. While the prices may make me think twice before cutting, I can’t find modern prints like these anywhere else in Nashville.

You’ll also find notions, a wonderful embroidery corner, and patterns by independent makers like Colette and By Hand London.

fabric studio

The Fabric Studio will soon be hosting sewing classes and labs as well. Nancy herself is easy to talk to, friendly, and down to earth. She sews and quilts, and she works out of the studio. Wedgewood-Houston is bursting with creativity, and I’m so excited that textiles are getting thrown into the mix.



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Quilt Week 2014

with photography by Tony Youngblood

Paducah, Kentucky is a town of about 25,000 people that boasts a cobble stoned downtown, an arts enclave, and the “Wall to Wall Mural Project” of over 50 murals that adorn the floodgate. It’s also the home of an Artist Relocation Program that offers incentives to artists who will move to Paducah and hopefully contribute to its evolving scene. It’s just about two hours north of Nashville, which is just perfect for a weekend trip.


This sleepy artistic village is transformed each year for one week as Paducah dons the badge of “Quilt City USA”, and 40,000 quilters and artists flock to the Four-Rivers Area for workshops, contests, shopping, and a huge quilt expo. The show ran this year from April 23rd – 26th and included plenty for the palates of veteran quilters and those new to the craft. As a beginner quilter myself, I was thrilled to see such diversity in style and conception. The crowd was predictably retired, although part of me was surprised: there are a lot of young contemporary quilters out there, but I was the lone thirty-something last Saturday.

It doesn’t matter so much because there was tons to take in. The expo showed hundreds of quilts from the U.S. and abroad, most notably Japan,Egypt, and Australia. Contests were sponsored by machine and fabric companies such as Moda and Janome, and categories ranged from hand quilted bed quilts to miniature quilts.

One highlight was an Egyptian artist hand quilting at top speed, cutting fabric as he sewed. I pulled this video of the same guy off YouTube from last years AQS show.

He has been quilting for thirty-five years and works ten to twelve hours a day. Here’s a finished quilt made in Egypt in the same way:

Quilt Makers of Cairo Hand-stiched quilt.

Tent Makers of Cairo Handstiched quilt. They’re making a documentary about these guys! Stay tuned.

The studio quilt collection was definitely my favorite.  I veer toward these nonconventional beauties that do strange, amazing things with the color wheel, add texture, show stitches, and bend traditional block patterns. Artists often dye their own fabric, use silk screening, or paint the fabric using various media.  These quilts bring out something that I love about quilts in general: they’re recycled pieces of art, made from scraps. They grew popular because they were useful and inexpensive. While studio quilts are not known for their utility, they share the spirit of reuse.

Studio quilts also speak to me of landscapes. This quilt below made me think of my old neighborhood in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Intersected by the toxic Gowanus Canal, it’s a skinny slice of Kings County.

Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn

Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn

gowanus quilt

“Night Rain in Venice” by Fenella Davies (U.K.)

Modern quilts also tend to use mixed media. This studio quilt used what looks like brass.


“Alternating Currents” by Patricia Malarcher

Keep going for more studio quilts!


“Mimiquilt VI: Degradation” by Mirjam Pet-Jacobs (Netherlands)


“Hunted 2” by Bente Vold Klausen (Norway)


“Mid-century Modern II” by Serena Brooks


“Jardin du Wiltz I” by Anna Torma (Canada)

laura's favorite

Oh my! I didn’t get the name of this beauty! If you happen to know the artist, please leave it in my comments.

tesoro escondito

“Tesoro Escondido” by Patricia Kennedy-Zafred (Pennsylvania)


While these studio quilts left me in awe, I wished that there were more of them, and that they weren’t hidden in a back room. I might not have found them if my boyfriend hadn’t scouted the scene for me. The fact is that a lot of women and men are creating quilts that have a fresh perspective, but if you use the AQS show as a guide, the quilt world is not evolving as quickly as its quilters are. I’d love to see more studio quilts and untraditional perspectives like these. Then, perhaps AQS would draw a younger crowd–a crowd that will be its future.

Here’s the Best in Show. When I read that the entire quilt was stitched by hand, I admired the craftsmanship. It most likely is technically a masterpiece. But it doesn’t make me feel any kind of way.


“Elated” by Ted Storm (Netherlands)

Some traditional bed quilts and wall quilts really were thrilling. I especially loved checking out the Japanese quilts, like these ones.


“Oriental Puzzle” by Hitomi Kanzawa (Japan)


“Autumn Freshet” by Noriko Endo (Japan)

I like these because they engage colors and shapes that I don’t normally see together.


“Dotting the Inside Box” by Sandy Snow (Florida)


“The Road to Love” by Elizabeth Dackson


And check out this lovely echo quilting:


“Red Flowers in Hawaii” by Noriko Hasegawa (Japan)

The miniature collections didn’t get more fun than this one “For the Baby Mice”:

baby mice

And the quilt below takes a modern look at the traditional log cabin:

wonky log cabin

“Abstract 16” by Cynthia Felts (Missouri)

Here’s my final favorite:


“Spirit” by Georgia Spalding PIerce


Shopping was insanely fun. I scored some gorgeous hand-dyed and printed fabric from Quilt Tapestry Studio, met some very  passionate folks from Accomplish Quilting (they’re opening a store in Nashville, ya’ll!), fell in love with Australian Aboriginal and Robert Kaufman prints at Color By Hand, and discovered Tambani Applique Blocks. Tambani is a quilting and embroidering collective  in the northern part of South African from a culture that is rich in folklore. They make blocks that tell these traditional African tales. Their brochure says, “The women are poor, illiterate and unemployed. Husbands often drift toward the cities, many never return.” Not only do these blocks carry out their oral tradition, but they also employ the women who make them; they keep all of the profit.


I also picked up this stunning batik from . The owner, Mary Ogwell, is from Kenya and gave us a great deal because she was anxious to close up and see her newborn grandson in Phoenix.


Finally, a true highlight was getting on a long armer for the very first time. Someday, when I am making a living as a quilter, perhaps I will look back at the Paducah Quilt Show as the day I found my calling!


As soon as I got home, I started my own art quilt. (blush.)

my modern quilt