Monday, December 19, 2011

Ruby and Scarlet


Well, it's Christmas time and what better way to celebrate than with finishing up a few UFOs that have been hanging around for about 7 years now! The last time, my grandmother came to visit, I showed her some pieces that I had hand appliqued, beaded and sewn ribbon embroidery on. Her home is very vintage and she asked if she could have the only two pieces that were completely finished. But of course! They look fabulous in her home. Since then, she has been asking if I would finish some more pieces to add to her collection. These patterns are not my own design and try as I might, I can not find the designer to credit her properly. If anyone knows, please let me know. I would live to add that information here. Her patterns are wonderful. Meanwhile, as I had mentioned, all of these pieces are done entirely by hand. The difference between these two pieces and the ones that my grandmother already has in her collection is that I decided to finally let go of my purist attitude and need to complete the rest of the ladies by hand quilting them. This is a huge breakthrough for me


and a wonderful exercise in letting go. You see, I don't really like hand quilting. Rather I love and appreciate seeing hand quilting work by others. However, it is just not for me and I do not enjoy it! That said, I greatly admire those with the patience to do it! Still, if truth be told, these pieces would never get done if I held onto that need to be a purist! Ha! And so, I figure that I would give myself permission to finish these pieces by machine quilting which I vastly enjoy! And best of all, they will get to be seen and enjoyed rather than languishing in my closet. I decided to finish the two ladies dressed in red to celebrate the season. I love the way they have come out. My grandmother keeps asking me if I have had a chance to finish any more of the victorian lady pieces and I have pretended to not remember what she is talking about. I think she will be pleasantly surprised when I see her for the holidays or at least I hope so! Happy Holidays, everyone!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fiber Art Palm Trees

Fiber Art Palm Tree by Barb Forrister

I am so excited about finishing my newest palm tree sculpture. This is a take off from my other canopy trees in which I have opted to use lutradur and lace for the palm fronds. I first began by experimenting with different weights of lutradur, specifically light and heavy weight lutradur. Then to change things up a bit, I added some interfacing. I painted sheets of both lutradur and interfacing with acrylic textile paints and used Mistyfuse Transdoodle sheets to transfer the palm frond patterns onto the painted sheets.


In order to clearly see the stitching, I used heavy weight threads such as Madiera Supertwist, Wonderfil Dazzle and Superior Razzle Dazzle 8 wt thread in the bobbin to stitch the palm fronds. Laying a copper wire along the central vein of the leaf allowed for shaping and sculpting of the leaves. The copper wire was couched by hand using yarn all along the central vein.

The stems of the palm fronds were attached to the main tree and the copper wires were wrapped with yarns. The tree trunk is composed of PVC and was covered in lace to add texture. I have also added decorative lights to the trunk of the tree, thinking it would make a wonderful decorative night light. I also believe it would be a great addition for a room with a tropical theme decor!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

International Quilt Festival Quilt Scene Presents Quilts: A World of Beauty

Songbird by Barb Forrister
Wow, I was so excited to learn that Songbird had been included in the International Quilt Festival Quilt Scene, Winter 2011-2012 Special Annual Issue! What an honor! I am dancing on air. It is a wonderful way to bring in the holidays! The magazine features many wonderful quilts from both the World of Beauty and Special Exhibits show. Also included are Texas Quilt Museum Open for Business, an interview with Sharon Schamber, an article by Leslie Tucker Jenison and Jamie Fingal, 21 Quilts, Totes and Projects to Make, Book Reviews, Glimpses inside Artist's studios and even a Quilt Scene Crossword Puzzle which I am still trying to solve. LOL! The projects and articles are fantastic and as always, the photography is exquisite! This year, Songbird was included in International Quilt Association Presents Quilts: A World of Beauty. Songbird measures 24X18 and is a whole cloth painted piece. Thanks, Quilting Arts! I am so jazzed! Christmas for me came early this year and with that, I will dance in the New Year! To order your copy of International Quilt Festival Quilt Scene, please visit

Monday, November 28, 2011

Chantilly Lace Finds a New Home

I am so excited that Chantilly Lace found a new home this month. She made her debut at the SAQA TX booth at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. This is the seventh piece in the Emerald Treasures Series and measures 9X12. The background is screenprinted and the coral reef is dyed, painted and soft sculpted. Her head and appendages arealso  painted with textile paints and her shell is built up on layers and layers of extra batting to provide dimension. She is embellished with beads and embroidery floss. You might remember that earlier in the year, I was blocked and could not seem to make art following my sister's passing. Chantilly Lace was the first piece I was able to create when I finally did get over my artistic block. I am especially delighted that she went to a dear friend and I know she has found a good home! I wish them well!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Studio Art Quilt Associates Portfolio 18: Call of the Wild

Studio Art Quilt Associates Portfolio 18 has just been released earlier this month, making it's debut at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas.   It is an absolutely phenomenal book featuring works of many artists who are professional members of Studio Art Quilts Association. The organization is international and sponsors fiber exhibits throughout the world. The book is published once a year with new works from its members. It is used as a marketing tool for approaching galleries and museums with samples of our work. This year, I have a piece titled ""Call of the Wild" " in Portfolio 18. Earlier, In March of this year, Call of the Wild found a new home when it debuted at the Copper Shade Tree Gallery in Round Top, Texas. Inspired from a photo taken in South Carolina, this piece celebrates the Red Bellied Woodpecker. I love these birds and have been thinking of doing another piece with these beautiful creatures. If you have not yet had a chance to see this book, it is truly a feast for the eyes. To order your copy of Portfolio 18, please visit .

Call of the Wild by Barb Forrister


Monday, November 21, 2011

Contemplation: Quilt of the Month in Machine Quilting Unlimited E Newsletter

Contemplation by Barb Forrister
Wow, I am so tickled that Contemplation was chosen as November Quilt of The Month in the Machine Quilting Unlimited E Newsletter. This piece was made in 2008 and was inspired from a photo of the Big Thompson River that flows along the Drake and Loveland area in Colorado.  I lived in Fort Collins for a while and used
  to make regular trips back and forth to Estes Park to visit family. Contemplation was inspired from these trips and was created with natural and synthetic fabrics, cellophane, cheesecloth, Angelina fibers, tinzl and dryer sheets. It is inked and painted, and contains heat distressed plastics, fiber etched leaves, thread painted trees and foliage on Solvy. The piece was machine appliquéd and quilted on my Bernina 1630 with Sulky 30 wt., Isacord trilobal polyester 30 wt embroidery, Superior trilobal polyester, and metallic and opalescent kaleidoscope threads with Superior Monopoly in the bobbin. Contemplation has received Honorable Mentions and has just returned home from a juried invitational exhibit called "The Trail That Lay Before Them" featuring contemporary art quilts at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management. I am honored that Contemplation was able to be seen and enjoyed by so many folks this month.  To sign up for your Machine Quilting Unlimited E Newsletter, please visit .

Sunday, November 20, 2011

International Quilt Festival Memories 2011

Barb Forrister, Kathy York and Sherri, McCauley
 in front of Artists Garden, a group collaboration
 I had a wonderful time at festival this year. I was able to connect with so many old and new friends and hang out with people from all over the world. Love this aspect of festival. To the left, is a photo of myself, Kathy York and Sherri Mc Cauley standing in front of our group quilt. Sadly, we didn't win any prizes but we love this piece nonetheless! This piece was initiated and proposed by our amazing Connie Hudson! The top row of the quilt was made by Connie Hudson, Cindy Henneke and Annie Smith. The middle row is represented by Frances Holliday Alford, Leslie Tucker Jenison and Sherri Mc Cauley, while the bottom row was created by Kathy York, Barb Forrister and Suzan Engler. This year, International Quilt Festival had more than 1500 quilts available for viewing with so many wonderful special exhibits as well as the World of Beauty judged show. I especially liked the Texas Lone Star Exhibit, The Space Between, Tactile Architecture and Twelve by Twelve exhibits. They were absolutely phenomenal and I really enjoyed seeing all the beautiful artwork by so many artists. This year was my first time attending Gala On The Green and I had so much fun! Great food, delightful company, good band and lots of dancing. At the end of the night, my friend, Ysmay Gray and I rode home on a horesedrawn carriage. This is something that I have always wanted to do and I thought it was a perfect way to finish the festival! Loved riding through downtown Houston, seeing all the lights and enjoying the view!
Barb Forrister and Ysmay Gray riding home from Gala On the Green

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dinner at Eight Artists Meet in Houston for IQF 2011

Lost Cavern in The Space Between
 Dinner at Eight Artists met once again in Houston for the International Quilt Festival. This year's theme, The Space Between consisted of 37 artists including Natalya Aikens, Frances Holliday Alford, Betty Amador, Astrid Bennett, Loris Bogue, Deborah Borschert, Paula Chung, Joanell Connolly, Cindy Cooksey, Jamie Fingal, Barb Forrister, Linda Frost, Terry Grant, Desiree Habicht, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Lyric Kinard, Susan King, Pam Klebaum, Sherry Kleinman, Susan Brubaker Knapp, Jane LaFazio, Jayne Larson, Gwen Mayer, Linda T. Minton, Susie Monday, Jeannie Moore, Rachel Parris, Judy Perez, Yvonne Porcella, Wen Redmond, Karen Rips, Carolyn Ryan, Cynthia St. Charles, Julie Schlueter, Teresa Shippy, Gayle Simpson, Sarah Ann Smith, Terry Waldron, Laura Cater-Woods and Kathy York. So much fun to see how each of us interpreted the theme! My piece, Lost Cavern has been on my mind for a few years and I have always wanted to do a piece with stalactites and stalagmites under water. It was not until this year, that I finally delved into trying to accomplish this. The backdrop is a painted raw silk background covered with heat distressed lutradur and interfacing. I continued the jagged formations with wool roving and dyed cheesecloth mixed with lace and other bits of silk habotai. It is fused with Mistyfuse and quilted with Superior trilobal polyester thread and Aurifil 40 wt cotton machine quilting and embroidery thread. The divers are women who commemorate our pioneeer sister souls!

Below is a photo of Dinner at Eight Artists  meeting at Spencers on Friday night at of course, 8 o'clock. We had a wonderful time, meeting one another, exchanging cards, signing our new book, The Space Between and talking about next year's theme! As is traditional, we raised a toast to Strong Women. May we know them. May we raise them. May we be them! Then, we were off and being silly, playing with spoons. So much fun. Darn, I wish I had taken pictures of us with spoons but I suppose I was having too much fun. You can see more photos at . Blessed to be a part of this awesome group of women! Truly one of the highlights of festival!

Left to right, Jamie Fingal, Terry Grant, Frances Holliday Alford, Gerrie Congdon, Susan Brubaker Knapp, Leslie Tucker Jenison, Barb Forrister and Susan King

Saturday, November 12, 2011

3 Dimensional Palm Trees @ Quilting Arts Open Studios

One of my most favorite things about festival is doing Open Studio demos at the Quilting Arts booth. I love connecting and reconnecting with folks and sharing new ideas. At last year's Open Studios, I demonstrated how to make canopy trees like the one you see on the far right in the photo above. This year, I opted to carry that idea a step further by showing how you can make 3 dimensional palm trees out of lutradur and lace.  I began by experimenting with different weights of lutradur, specifically light and heavy weight lutradur. Then to change things up a bit, I added some interfacing. I painted sheets of both lutradur and interfacing with acrylic textile paints and used Mistyfuse Transdoodle sheets to transfer the palm frond patterns onto the painted sheets. In order to clearly see the stitching, I used heavy weight threads such as Madiera Supertwist, Wonderfil Dazzle and Superior Razzle Dazzle 8 wt thread in the bobbin to stitch the palm fronds. Laying a copper wire along the central vein of the leaf allows for shaping and sculpting of the leaves. The copper wire was couched by hand using yarn all along the central vein. The fronds make for wonderful fans also and I will be looking into this idea soon. The tree trunk was wrapped in lace and I am also planning to add some lights to the trunk. I think it will  make a great decorative night light! I will be posting photos soon of the completed tree. And perhaps by that time, I will have also had a chance to play with making some cool fans from lutradur and lace. I'm thinking some peacock designs would be pretty cool! Love playing with lutradur and now I am thinking about incorporating Misty Fuse and velvets/lace. So much fun!     

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mixed Media Beads at Quilting Arts MIU and SAQA Meet and Greet

Pokey Bolton & Barb Forrister @ Quilting Arts MIU
 On Thursday, November 3rd, I taught Mixed Media Beads at the Quilting Arts Make It University Booth @ the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas. This was one of the highlights of my trip. I always enjoy teaching and in doing so, I often learn so much from my students. I love the way this educational experience develops. The students learned how to make mixed media beads and then some of them went on to have "aha" moments where they were able to carry the idea further and develop their own original inspirations. I love it when that happens!  Maggie Winfield, one of my students created some most unusual beads using fluffy yarns, Angelina fibers, and cloth. Another student created her own original beaded necklace. It was wonderful to see how ideas turn into creations!

Betty Busby, Barb Forrister, Holly, Mary Pal & Misik Kim
 Later in the day, I met up at the Studio Art Quilt Associates booth to connect with old and new friends. Some of you may know that I am from Albuquerque, as is my friend, Betty Busby who is one of the most amazing artists that I know! Betty invited me to dinner and introduced me to Holly from Santa Fe, N.M., yet another very interesting and engaging artist! Loved her sense of humor! Seated next to Holly is Mary Pal, an awesome artist from Canada who employs cheesecloth to create beautiful portraits from cloth. On the right is Misik Kim from Korea, one of the artists from Masters Art Quilts II.  We had a wonderful dinner at Massas Seafood restaurant, joked around and exchanged ideas. This was another highlight of my time spent in Houston. I love to connect with other artists and develop special camaraderie's. These women were absolutely so much fun! Awesome way to finish the evening!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Artist Village Debuts at International Quilt Festival 2011

Barb Forrister, Kathy York and Sherri McCauley

Wow, I am home from Houston and finally starting to blog. I had a fantastic time and had the pleasure of reconnecting with so many old friends and also new ones! I think that is my favorite thing about Houston! The comraderie is so amazing. This photo was taken on Wednesday, Opening Night at the International Quilt Festival. When I first walked onto the exhibit floor, the first main exhibit that caught my eye was the Artist Village curated by Kathy York. Words cannot describe how wonderful this village truly was. So fantastic to see 17 international artists coming together to express their ideas. I loved watching individuals come up to the exhibit with a smile on their face as they bent over to peer into each of the houses. It touched my heart to see how the village connected with so many people, a labor of love for sure!  
Artist Village Project at IQF 2011
To the left is a photo of the entire Artist Village, a collaboration with Susan Else, Frances Holliday Alford, Pamela Allen, Frieda Anderson, Lisa Call, Jane Davila, Naomi Adams, Jamie Fingal, Barb Forrister, Vickie Hallmark, Connie Hudson, Leslie Jenison, Sherri McCauley, Judy Coates Perez, Melanie Testa, Laura Wasilowski and Kathy York that is being enjoyed by some of the festival attendees. 
Closeup of part of the Artist Village Project.
The photo to the right shows a closeup part of the Artist Village with my contribution of the adobe pueble and 3 dimensional tree. I really enjoyed working on this project and am blessed to be a part of it all. Even more rewarding is seeing how it was received at festival. Wonderful to see it have an effect on so many people!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Quilting Arts Open Studios 2011: Creating 3 Dimensional Palm Trees

Remember the 3 Dimensional Canopy Tree? Ideas have been percolating and I am currently in the process of designing a 3 dimensional palm tree. In my quest to find materials that have body and lift, I have been experimenting with different weights of lutradur and interfacing. Below is a photo of painted heavy weight lutradur.
Please join me at the Quilting Arts Open Studio Booth at the International Quilt Festival on Friday from 12:40-2:40 p.m. where I will be showing how to create 3 dimensional palm trees and foliage. If you enjoy mixed media and sculpting, stop by and learn how to combine lace, lutradur and copper to create palm trees. By the way, these leaves also make for some pretty cool fans. If you have a chance, please stop by and visit. I would love to see you.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Quilting Arts Make It University at IQF 2011: Mixed Media Beads

Wow can't believe it's that time of the year again! Houston festival is less than a week away and I have been busily preparing for the big event. Just finished packing supplies and putting kits together for a class I will be teaching, this year. Please join me at the Quilting Arts Make It University booth where I will be teaching Mixed Media Beads. The class will be held on Thursday, November 3rd from 12-1 p.m. at the International Quilt Festival located at the George Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. The fee is fifteen dollars and includes all the delicious supplies you need to make fabulous mixed media beads! If you are in the area, please stop by and visit, take some classes, rest your feet and make some wonderfully unique beads to take home with you. Come join the fun. I look forward to seeing you all at festival!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Eye of the Quilter 2011

Glorious Color By Barb Forrister
The International Quilt Festival will once again host Eye of The Quilter, a special exhibit showcasing photos. This year's theme, Friendship is the Texas State Motto and will coincide with the 175th anniversary of the state’s independence from Mexico. The theme is perfect as so many folks gather together each year to once again meet up with old friends or chance to meet new ones.  I think perhaps, it is one of my favorite parts of the festival. This year, Glorious Color, A Mutual Friendship and Spiritual Messenger of Healing have been selected as part of the exhibit. The first photo, Glorious Color tells a story. Color is our best friend. It includes the colors of the rainbow which evoke moods and symbolize emotions. Whether it be it black for mourning, white for purity or red for passion, it is one of our most powerful allies. Orange expresses joy. Yellow symbolizes friendship. Green signifies growth. Blue stands for stability. Indigo represents spiritual realization and purple is the symbol for mystery. They are our pallette and friends for life. The second photo, A Mutual Friendship reminds us that nature is our friend. It symbolizes all the beauty and joy that life has to offer, the symbiotic relationship that all creatures have in common. May we continue to grow with love and respect for one another. The third photo, Spiritual Messenger is dedicated to my dear sister who passed away this August 27th, 2011 and describes the hummingbird as our friend who comes to us with the power of joy and healing, representing the nectar of life and spirituality. When we experience the loss of a best friend, we are often overcome by grief, so overwhelming, it is as if a hole has been left in our heart that can never be mended. The hummingbird symbolizes an accomplishment of that which seems impossible. It's appearance comforts us, allows us to heal and remember the blessings we have been given. May these beautiful creatures continue to visit and provide healing.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Trail That Lay Before Them

"The Trail That Lay Before Them" is the first National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center quilt exhibit. This juried invitational sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management featured contemporary art quilts and was on display at the Flagstaff Gallery located in Baker City Oregon from September 2 - October 14, 2011. "Contemplation" has just arrived home safely along with a CD containing photos taken of the exhibit, courtesy of Gypsy McFelter, Exhibits Specialist.  Wow, what a treat! The gallery is beautiful and the quilts are exquisite. This was my fifth invitational and I am tickled to have been chosen as one of the contributing artists. To see a slide show of the exhibit, please visit

Contemplation By Barb Forrister

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Machine Quilting Unlimited: Songbird

Songbird By Barb Forrister

Wow, I was so surprised to reach into my mailbox and find a complimentary copy of Machine Quilting Unlimited! The November/December issue features Sharon Schamber and the Sacred Threads 2011 Exhibit. Words cannot decribe how beautiful the quilts are! What a treat for the eyes! I am blessed to be in such good company. This month, Songbird is included in the Noteworthy Section of the magazine along with Dijanne Cevaal’s Fairy Forest. I have never seen this magazine before but I can tell you, the content is wonderful! I truly had a fantastic time perusing through the whole magazine. The articles are interesting and the stitching is to die for! Best of all, I got to see the Sacred threads 2011 exhibit. To order your copy, please visit

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Summer Blossoms

Summer Blossoms is part of the soft sculpted 3 dimensional flower series and was created for the SAQA Texas exhibit and sale at Houston for the International Quilt Festival 2011. It measures 9X12 and is set on a dyed turquoise background which was prequilted before adding the 3 dimensional elements. The leaves consist of various materials including Angelina fibers which have been layered and fused with MistyFuse.  Stitching of the leaves varies to add interest. Two of the 3 dimensional flowers were created from leftover dyed paper towels that were built up by adding layers of several


 mixed media materials, painted and embellished with beads. The third flower to the right is made  with Lutradur. all are strategically tacked such that they extend off the surface 2-3 inches. Edges were finished with an envelope style. To learn more about 3 dimensional flowers, please check out my new article, "3 Dimensional WildFlowers" which can be found in volume V of In Stitches Emagazine. I also offer workshops tailored to meet your needs. Please visit  for more information.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Flora and Fauna

Flora and Fauna was inspired from a photograph taken in my backyard. I always knew there were Baltimore Orioles in Austin but I had never actually seen any till one morning when I was outside having my coffee. I looked up and these gorgeous birds were ducking in and out of the trumpet vine. They were quite amusing and their color, so exquisite! I knew I had to create this piece. I had originally intended to paint this bird but when I got upstairs to the studio, my hands just reached for the orange fabric and out came the Misty Fuse. Once the bird was assembled, I began making the 3 dimensional leaves. I love to mix techniques and consequently, some leaves have been layered and fused with various fibers and Misty Fuse. Others have been thread painted with a heavy thread in the bobbin. Still, others have been fiber etched and fused. Once the vines were in place, I began experimenting with how to create the trumpet vine flowers. They were so much fun. 
Love the delicate blossoms. The background was upcycled from a project of which I had leftover machine quilted pieces.  Years ago, I had made a piece called Contemplation and just before sending it to a show, I decided to whack off the borders and binding and "fix it." I know, kind of crazy! I suppose it was a good thing because the quilt went on to win an Honorable Mention. But meanwhile, I had kept the already quilted and bound borders. I couldn't bring myself to throw them away. And yet, I found that they were perfect for this project. I took two edges and zigzagged them together such that the binding was on the  outside edges. Then, I added the top and bottom binding to complete the piece.  I love the thought of being able to upcycle things especially when it is incorporated into nature pieces.  I included the original photo from which my inspiration came. Quite different! Interesting how changing the background really changes the feel of the entire piece....

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Quilting Arts In Stitches Emagazine 3 Dimensional Flowers

Welcome to the new In Stitches Emagazine Volume V blog tour with captivating ideas and inspirations by Lindsey Murray, Larkin Jean Van Horn, Amanda McCavour, Cheryl Sleboda, Jane Davila, Carol Ann Waugh, Therese May, Alma Stoller, and Barb Forrister. I had always heard of the new In Stitches Emagazine, however, I was completely unaware of what it was all about or of it's truly remarkable capabilities. I was fortunate to have my good friend, Cynthia Wenslow film the video and take photos for me. She is such a gem! I had no idea what my article and video footage would look like. Wow, was I surprised! Jane Davila and Lindsey Murray down at Quilting Arts were a joy to work with and so talented. It is a beautiful publication through and through, an exciting, revolutionary and tecnhologically saavy way of looking at things that no hard copy magazine could ever accomplish. Love the Zoom In, Zoom Out features and video footage, so much candy for the eyes. You really get the feeling that you are right there with the artist. I truly did not know what I was missing till I saw a copy of the In Stitches Emagazine. It is filled with engaging and fascinating articles by so many artists! Thanks for the opportunity. It was an amazing experience and I am blessed to be a part of it. I know I will be ordering more editions in the months to come. To order your copy, please visit​/Quilting/Magazines/eMags.html . You won't want to miss out on the fun! Come join me in making 3 dimensional flowers. It will open up a whole new world! Next stop is Carol Ann Waugh with Stupendous Stitching: Using Stitch to Create Textured Fabric. You will love what she does with combining hand and machine stitching.

Come join us on the blog tour.

Monday 10/10 Lindsey Murray
Tuesday 10/11 Larkin Van Horn
Wednesday 10/12 Cheryl Sleboda
Thursday 10/13 Alma Stoller
Friday 10/14 Therese May
Monday 10/17 Barb Forrister
Tuesday 10/18 Carol Ann Waugh
Wednesday 10/19 Jane Davila

Austin tatious