On Creativity

May 2nd, 2019

Always more to learn. And Omahi’s absolutely right about equipment vs. imagination (link in caption). Sometimes the true creativity comes from figuring out how to make your vision come to like with the materials and skills you already have . . . No excuses! Plus, the Guy has good Photoshop skills with fire!

https://mymodernmet.com/omahi-behind-the-scenes-photos/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_term=2019-04-30

The ocean goes to Sapphire Celebration!

April 25th, 2019

I’m delighted to report that my ocean quilt, She persisted in her quest to reach the shore and sing the anthem of the sea, will be a part of the Sapphire Celebration at International Quilt Festival Houston 2019 and any additional venues! WOOOHOOO!

2019 is the 45th anniversary for International Quilt Festival. Five years ago, they had the Ruby Jubilee celebration for their 40th anniversary, and shortly thereafter decided to have a similar celebration for their 45th. This time, the traditional gem for the 45th anniversary is the sapphire, so what is better than an exhibit full of glorious blue and white quilts? The call for entry wanted traditional, modern and art, and from the announcements I’m seeing and messages I’m receiving from friends, it is going to be a glorious exhibit. So delighted to have made the cut and be a part of it!

If you’d like to learn more about the quilt, visit its gallery page, here.


The Quilt Show–Sarah’s Episode!

April 12th, 2019

What a delight it was to be invited to tape a show for the Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson online “tv” show, The Quilt Show (TQS)! In the past I have taped for two seasons of Quilting Arts TV (on PBS) and did a video workshop for Interweave (Art Quilt Design from Photo to Threadwork, available as a download), but TQS is on a whole other level of professionalism. It was filmed in the Comcast center near Denver…as you walked by the main office there was an entire cabinet of awards including a few Golden Globes! And to get it up front: THANK YOU ADELE Merrell for all these great photos and Gayle Schliemann from Bernina for a bunch more!

Intro segment with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims…yes, they color coordinate their tops with the guest’s outfit! My dress is a Marcy Tilton pattern, Vogue 9112
I was so excited that I was able to pull off my surprise gifts for Alex, Ricky, John and Justin: custom TQS aprons made with a thermofax screen I made for them (with behind the scenes help from Producer Shelly to help with a graphic and favorite colors for them).
After the intro we got together and everyone modeled their custom TQS aprons. Sorry folks, there are only four of these that exist, but I’m delighted they are already using them with other guests. I bought all cotton colored aprons on Amazon (where else?). If you like the milkweed design on mine, I am selling my custom screens on my website for a limited time (maybe six to 12 months) so you could make your own!
There are two guests taped each day–I had Saturday morning. They hang the quilts first as all the other prep begins, and well before the audience comes in. The lighting is SUPERB…both of the guests and the quilts. There are light colored walls behind the seat walls with bounce diffuser lights that reflect off the exterior studio walls to create a smooth even light, then each quilt has a spot…there wasn’t a single “hot spot” or deep dark area (unless it was intentional)

And a panorama shot…the detail isn’t great because of the re-sizing I had to do for the blog, but I am standing in the center of the audience area. There were four large quilts including this year’s BOM, Sizzle, then the door to the Green Room, a monitor, the areas of the set from the “brick” wall, seating area, gallery space. The big tables are all on rollers as is the longarm and Q20 so everything can be moved easily for each segment. Another monitor on the middle-right, the staff and guest cubbyhole is behind that wall, you can see a long light thing that is the longarm, then Alex’s quilt (which is gorgeous in person) and right bank of the audience seating. There are usually 50-70 guests for each show. Tickets are free but you must reserve in advance…check the TQS website for info.
Justin Shults, Ricky’s partner, consults with the team in an area to by one side of the set where they collect the guests’ “stuff” for the episodes and serves as staff work space. I love that they said “welcome to the family.” Everyone staying at the DoubleTree collects in the same zone of the restaurant for breakfast (travel, meals, hotel are on your own dime, but it is so worth it!) and eat together. It is a delightful way to get to know the crew and principals. Left to right: Lilo Bowman, Justin Shults, Mary Kay Davis and Katie. Justin is the guy coordinating things on the set while Shelly Heesacker, the Producer, is in the control room. They communicate by headsets.
This is pretty close to the image folks will see when the show airs online sometime this autumn.
And here’s what that looks like from the sidelines
Sarah Ann Smith visits The Quilt Show with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims
My first segment was about using paint on cloth (and I now have custom paint kits available here) and using shrink fabric to make my sunflower quilt (a blogpost to come). Here Ricky and I reviewed what I brought and what we could fit into the 10-14 minute segment. While the guest and hosts review the segments, groups of folks from the audience are allowed to come up and see the quilts up close.
In the breaks between segments, John Anderson (Alex’s husband) keeps the audience entertained, shares quilts from upcoming guests and more. This one is at the end of the day when Ricky came to chat with the audience.

Rehearsing for the thread segment: Ricky, Alex, me and Mary Kay Davis taking a close up photo.
Thanks SO MUCH to Adele, who dresses the set, for taking a billion photos for me. I especially wanted this one from inside the control room that shows what a polished and complicated production this is. Producer Shelly Heesacker is in the bottom left and she crafts each episode and runs the show.
And a close up of the screens as I am taping my second segment, with Alex, on how I do my Threadwork.

After-taping shots: here, I am holding a photo by Chris Maher from the online Photo Critique Group–it is a mock movie poster, with Ricky, Justin and many of our classmates in the assorted cast and crew roles. Too much fun!
I made TQS screen prints on my hand-dyed fabric for the audience as a little gift. MAJOR thanks to Iris Karp of MistyFuse for donating a package of MF (which changed my life and makes what I do possible!!!!! and that is NO exaggeration) so I made up a pattern for the sunflower that I demonstrated on set.
Time for some portrait shots with my quilts…this was one of the best!
Going to use this one for my FB profile photo for a while…THANK YOU ADELE!
Question and Answer session with the audience (and you can see that fun dress!) after taping.

I have to say, I wasn’t all that nervous thanks to being UBER prepared and having done Quilting Arts before, but I was wired for sound LOL..by the time of the Q&A I was relaxed and ready to have even more fun sharing.

At the end of my segment saying “It’s a new day EVERY day,” the TQS motto. Can you tell we were having fun?!!!!


My episode will air sometime in late summer/autumn. Star Members of The Quilt Show will have the first view, then there will be one week where the episode will be free to everyone. I will be sure to post, but gosh there are so many wonderful guests that I am so glad I am a member–and did you know I joined the very first day TQS began: January 1, 2007? And now, here I am as a guest! WOOT! Life is GOOD!

Visions Online Spring Exhibit

April 4th, 2019

I’m delighted to share that my Lilies of the Valley quilt has been juried in to the Visions Art Museum online exhibit “Spring.”

Lilies of the Valley, 36 x 36 inches. As always, there is dense quilting to bring the quilt to life. This work is has been juried into the SAQA Connecting Our Natural Worlds exhibit, and is available for sale. However, the quilt cannot be delivered to the purchaser until the end of the SAQA exhibit in 2022.

I love the delicate fluted cups of the tiny flowers near our front porch, the shades of green as the leaves curve around the delicate stalks. And later in autumn the flowers become vibrant red and orange berries to add little glints of surprising color to the fading landscape.

Sarah Ann Smith's Lilies of the Valley art quilt features small white flowers against a field of green
Detail, Lilies of the Valley

The quilt uses my own hand-dyed fabrics extensively along with commercial batiks and cotton sateen.
I encourage you to visit the online exhibit and enjoy!

Photo Challenge, early April

April 3rd, 2019
In 72 hours I’ll be in The Quilt Show studio, prepping to tape on Saturday. That meant do this week’s photo for my weekly photo challenge/critique group quick! My first thought was found letters, so I took a quick jaunt two miles to Hope Corner, the seat of town government (it’s ok to giggle). In the panorama, you can see the road to my house on the left, the Pinchbeck’s home, bagpipe business (Pinchbeck Pipes) and Sweetland Center (school, events)–black and red buildings, Hope General Store (big gray building in the center) which has been in pretty much continuous operation since 1832, the Town Office (tan building mostly obscured by the General Store), on the right barely spy out a red barn for Hope Orchards (you-pick mostly), and Benjamin Leavitt’s metalworks. I have often said a town in Maine is where two roads interset and there are at least two buildings. We have more than two!

The caption sums it up–I’ve been BUSY, so I am actually looking forward to sitting in an airport and on a plane! I’m also really excited about the opportunity of being on The Quilt Show. I’ve got samples and step-outs prepped: when you demo something you have to make a zillion versions of it, one for each stage of the process since there isn’t time to do the work while being filmed. I’ve even thought to the week after when I have a teaching job in Portland and another the following week in Massachusetts. I’ve got about five big events this year, and three of them are between April 4 and 18! Sheesh!

But I’m happy excited, the income from teaching will pay for the cost of the trip to Colorado–airfare, hotel, Uber to and from here and there, seeing some internet friends, meals, and shipping two boxes. Since I live in Maine and take Cape Air from here to Boston, we are limited to just ONE full-size suitcase per passenger. There are only 9 seats plus the pilot’s on the plane, and cargo is in the nose cone, small carry-on items go in the wings of the plane, and there is a netted area behind the last seat. That meant an expensive FedEx of long/large quilts and a flat rate box of goodies to give to the audience. But I’m READY! I’ll share pics on Facebook and Instagram and blog when I’m home and have had a brief collapse LOL!