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Twelve by Twelve Art Quilter :: Françoise Jamart

Francoise Jamart
:: Françoise Jamart ::

I just celebrated my fifth blogging anniversary a few weeks ago. I am so glad I said “yes” when Diane Perin Hock asked me in September 2007 if I wanted to join her and a few other quilters to form a new art quilt challenge online group.

I have always liked handling fabrics and even simply looking at them. My mother was an accomplished dressmaker. I learned the basics of sewing by watching her work. My grandmother owned an old treadle machine and, during the summer holidays, I used to play sewing on paper, with no thread in the needle. Her main pastimes were gardening and cooking, but, as a thrifty housewife, she also made comforters out of her old blankets by layering and quilting floral cotton fabric on them. The old treadle machine is now in a corner of my living room.

I started doing patchwork as a hobby in the eighties after seeing Amish quilts in the United States. My first quilts were machine pieced and hand quilted and they were made mainly with solid cotton fabrics. About ten years later, I began dyeing my own fabrics with cold reactive dyes. I also enjoy printing them. I still do small traditional quilts from time to time mainly for children and as gifts. I really hope my little granddaughter will soon join me in my sewing room.

I really had a great time working on the first Twelve by Twelve series of quilts and I’m even more enjoying the Colorplay series. For each challenge, I dye new fabric, trying to achieve my own version of the given color scheme. I like my quilts to look simple, uncomplicated and balanced. I often use my photos as inspiration for my quilts. I love to go back to the pictures I took while traveling in Japan. It helps me keep a link with the spirit of this country that I truly love.

Being part of the Twelve by Twelve group offers me encouragement and motivation in a friendly atmosphere with just a tiny amount of gentle stress but without any kind of competition. It also helps me validate the time and effort I spend growing as an art quilter. For all of this, I am very grateful to my fellow Twelves.

The 12x12 International Art Quilt Challenge can be viewed at www.twelveby12.org

See more of Françoise's work at www.creatilfun.blogspot.com.



Twelve by Twelve Art Quilter :: Deborah Boschert

Deborah Boschert
:: Deborah Boschert ::

I believe a special kind of relationship develops between people when they truly recognize, appreciate and understand each other’s art. After more than three years of blogging, emailing, writing and creating art quilts together, I can say that the “twelves” really know me and I am honored to share my life and my art with them. I also know and love each of them and their beautiful creations.

Deborah Boschert
Art is such a very personal expression. The twelve of us have completely individual styles but we’ve all chosen fabric and art quilting as our medium. It’s pretty amazing all the things you can do with fabric. Some of us dye our own fabric and have mastered techniques and formulas to create stunning colors and patterns. Some of us add surface design to fabric with paint, thermofax printing and silk screens. We all stitch our work, but in so many different ways: embroidery, hand quilting, free motion machine quilting, even needle felting. There are quilts in our collection that are realistic, abstract, humorous, provocative and sculptural. Some even have moving parts!

Deborah Boschert
I am enthralled with fabric and the layers I can create with paint, sheer materials, stitching and pattern. Some artists are drawn to watercolor paint, or bronze or photography. I love the connection I share with the “twelves” since we all work with fabric. It’s an interesting exploration to create something that began as a very traditional craft and can now be considered fine art.

Deborah Boschert
In the age of blogging, instant emails and endless resources on the internet, the Twelve by Twelve project has harnessed all that technology to replicate the traditional quilting bee. We are very excited that our quilts will be exhibited at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in November and eleven of us will be in attendance! I am so eager to meet the other “twelves” in person. I met Terri and Kristin. Some of the other “twelves” have connected in various ways, but I can only manage the giddy excitement we’ll share when we’re together and we can see all the quilts in person. (Helen isn’t able to join us. We’re going to miss her.) I’m blessed with wonderful family and friends in my life, but there is something fantastically unique about artist friends.

The 12x12 International Art Quilt Challenge can be viewed at www.twelveby12.org

See more of Deborah's work at http://DeborahsJournal.blogspot.com.


Twelve by Twelve Art Quilter :: Kirsten Duncan

  Kirsten Duncan
:: Kirsten Duncan ::

Twelve by Twelve came along with perfect timing in my life. I had just moved from New Zealand to Australia, was living in a remote outback community and felt cut off from my support network of quilting friends. I had learned to quilt during my first experience of living in the Outback more than ten years earlier. Self-taught from books and magazines, my quilting life began in solitude and here I was again. But the world wide web of crazy online communities had just begun to glimmer on my horizon and so, before I had a chance to be intimidated by the calibre of my fellow Twelves, I said “Yes!” and leapt into a wonderful adventure.

Kirsten Duncan
The first reveal! I remember the great sense of anticipation as I sat in my living room listening for the “ping” from my laptop that announced each new post as it appeared on our blog. With the quilts came a slow realisation – this group is special! Every quilt made me gasp; each one beautiful, thoughtful. I started to feel kind of inadequate... and then the comments began to appear. Each of us recorded our impressions, opinions, admiration for the work of the others and we slowly began to know one another.

Kirsten Duncan
The biggest blessing by far of being a Twelve has not been the quilts or even the book, exciting and wonderful though it is. The best thing has been that I have learned so much, much of it about myself and what I do. I know now :

…that sometimes I make good quilts (and sometimes I don’t. You know how it goes!)

…that what I believed was Procrastination is actually Preparation – there are days, weeks, months of thinking and planning before the sewing starts.

…that it’s not essential to have a recognisable style – eclecticism is a style and, besides, it’s fun wandering off on all those tangents!

…that the world is really very small and we can find friends in every corner of it if we look.


The 12x12 International Art Quilt Challenge can be viewed at www.twelveby12.org

See more of Kirsten's work at http://pompomrouge.wordpress.com.


Twelve by Twelve Art Quilter :: Terri Stegmiller

:: Terri Stegmiller ::

Art quilting, for me, started out as I think it probably starts out for most quilters.  I started with traditional quilting around 1994.  My grandmother was a quilter but for some reason I didn't really take notice of quilts at that time in my life.  I started to take interest when I met my then future mother-in-law.  I soon started yearning for a sewing machine.  I wanted a sewing machine? I hated sewing in home economics classes in school, so this was a surprise to me.

Terri Stegmiller
Well, time went on and I found myself getting a bit bored with it, the traditional stuff, that is.  I found myself browsing the Internet a lot in the late 1990's.  The Internet was very new to me around that time frame and I wasn't aware of what was out there.  Somehow I started finding all kinds of information on art quilting and my interest level really perked up.

Terri Stegmiller

I made a few so-called art quilts and while I was getting more experience under my belt, I started noticing all the hype about mixed-media.  Soon I was playing with all these fun products.  There are many techniques I have played with over time, some I enjoy more than others.  They all seem to have a time and place, depending on what I'm making and what technique might be the best one to use for any given design. 

Terri Stegmiller
I started blogging around 2006 and because of it, I've made many online friends.  Without blogging I wouldn't have had the opportunity to have the experiences I've had and become involved in many of the things I've done.  If I hadn't been blogging, I wouldn't be a part of this wonderful Twelve by Twelve group.  Being a part of this group has been a highlight in my art quilting life.  These life-time friends will impact me and my artistic life forever.  I'm so happy to have been invited to be a member.  The inspiration I receive from my fellow Twelves is phenomenal.

The 12x12 International Art Quilt Challenge can be viewed at www.twelveby12.org

See more of Terri's work at stegart.blogspot.com.


Twelve by Twelve Art Quilter :: Gerrie Congdon

  Gerri Congdon
:: Gerrie Congdon ::

Perhaps, the best part of being a member of the 12x12 group is the strong friendships that we have formed. I have the honor of having met six of the other Twelves in person. I lived near Diane Hock, who started the group. I always figured she had to invite me to join! Then, I moved to Portland, OR where Terry Grant lives and we became fast friends. We often reveal our challenge quilts to each other before they are revealed on the blog. I had met Kristin La Flamme at Art Quilt Tahoe and bonded with her in a maternal kind of way. I have declared myself her art quilt mom. Karen Rips made a trip to Portland to visit family and Terry and I were able to meet her for breakfast and the talk was non-stop. About a year ago, when we were first making plans for our book, we needed to talk to Nikki Wheeler. She was not home. Her husband said she was at an art retreat in Portland, OR at Reed College. That is right across the street from me! So, off I went, to hunt down Nikki and surprise her.


My favorite meet up was with Helen Conway who is from England. She was visiting Diane in California. My husband and I drove down to surprise her. This was very difficult for me. I could not blab on my blog about what I was doing. Seeing her face when I walked in was priceless. An added bonus was the surprise visit from Karen Rips. I can’t wait to meet the rest of the Twelves when we go to Houston for the Quilt Festival and the special exhibit of all of our quilts.


I really enjoy working in the twelve inch square format. I do a lot of surface design work on fabric, and I also like experimenting with color and shapes. In the smaller format, if it doesn’t work, I have not lost a lot of time or materials. I often make more than one piece for a challenge. I like to work with hand-dyed silk fabric and cottons which I have painted or printed. I fuse compositions, sometimes abstract and sometimes in simple landscapes.

The 12x12 International Art Quilt Challenge can be viewed at www.twelveby12.org

See more of Gerrie's work at www.gericondesigns.com.


Twelve by Twelve Art Quilter :: Brenda Gael Smith

Twelve :: Brenda Gael Smith ::

Compelling Avocation
I learned to knit, sew and embroider as a child by a kind of osmosis from my Mum but quilting did not become part of my creative repertoire until much later. I was a commercial and regulatory lawyer in another life. Emerging from a protracted and demanding business transaction in mid-2000, I decided to make a baby quilt. What serendipity! My husband was concerned that I was over-exerting myself on my long overdue holiday weekend. On the contrary, working with fabric, shapes, color and texture unlocked part of my brain bringing me a new energy and sense of well-being. Patchwork, quilting and textiles soon developed into a compelling avocation and, in a personal “sea change,” I traded my city law office for a studio overlooking the ocean a few years later.

Brenda Gael Smith
More to Gain
When Diane invited me to join the Twelve by Twelve challenge in September 2007, I hesitated. I was wary of the commitment and the size was unfamiliar. However,  the challenge format means that we can each work on our art in our own time, using our personally preferred techniques and styles, all with the discipline and momentum of a fixed deadline and the potential to bounce off the creative energy that is generated by working with an enthusiastic group. Figuring there was more to gain than lose, I signed up to the challenge but I had little inkling of just how rewarding the experience would be.

Brenda Gael Smith

Discoveries & Confidence
In the course of the challenge so far, I have created more than 50 pieces. I am certain that I would not have created such a body of work without the impetus of the project structure. What's more, discoveries and confidence developed in the challenge have flowed through to my personal art practice. One of the ancillary works I made exploring the Mathematics theme became the foundation for my "Desire Lines" series which includes my Passion theme quilt Caliente and Running Hot & Cold. Similarly, my "Dreamlines" series is inspired directly from techniques used in my official Mathematics piece, Binary Note #2.

Even more enriching has been getting to know the other Twelves and their work. It could be isolating living in a small coastal community. However, thanks to the internet, blogging and the Twelve by Twelve project in particular, I have never felt lonely. The Twelves have become kindred creative spirits - we genuinely like and respect one another, we humour each other's idiosyncrasies and provide support, encouragement and thoughtful critique. I feel very fortunate indeed.

The 12x12 International Art Quilt Challenge can be viewed at www.twelveby12.org

See more of Brenda’s work at www.serendipitypatchwork.com.au


Twelve by Twelve Art Quilter :: Diane Perin Hock

Diane Perin Hock :: Diane Perin Hock ::

Craving Connection
No matter what our media of choice is, as artists much of our creative time is spent alone. We work in our creative corners, quietly contemplating and experimenting: What color here?  How does this composition flow? It’s an invigorating and satisfying process, but most of the time, it comes down to just being alone and doing it.

So maybe that explains why many of us crave connection to others who do what we do. Through magazines, blogs, guilds, and minigroups, we connect with others who share our obsession. That’s the impetus that led me to invite these amazing women to join me in an experiment that became “Twelve by Twelve.”  I was excited to connect and play with eleven other artists. I would never have imagined that it would lead to international exhibit opportunities and the publication of a book.  It just goes to show that when a bunch of energetic and inspired women get together, there’s no telling how far we can go!

Diane Perin Hock
Becoming Twelve
In the fall of 2009, I had the opportunity to meet one of the far-away Twelves, Helen Conway from the UK.  Helen and her husband were planning a trip with a stop near me in the San Francisco area, so I invited them to stay with us. Helen had bemoaned the lack of art quilting companions in her local area, and she’d commented that she envied my having local friends with whom to share my fiber art explorations. I offered to introduce Helen to some of my friends when she visited, and she responded with enthusiasm.

As far as Helen was concerned, I was planning a luncheon for her and several quilting friends. But unbeknownst to Helen, I also invited the west coast “Twelves” to see if they could attend and surprise Helen. To my delight, Gerrie Congdon from Oregon and Karen Rips from Southern California arranged to come.

Conversation and Quilts
By the time the day rolled around, Helen and I were happily meshing in our in-person friendship.  Despite never meeting any the guests before, Helen seemed to instantly “click” with them in the way that quilters and artists do. There was much happy chatter. Then the doorbell rang, and in came Karen Rips. Helen – recognizing her from her blog photos – was speechless with surprise.  Astonished hugs were exchanged, but before things settled down the doorbell rang again, and Gerrie Congdon made her entrance. By this time Helen was teary-eyed with surprise and pleasure. 

The afternoon flew by in whirl of conversation and quilts. We had show-and-tell that involved much oohing-and-ahhing. As I think back to that day, though, the most memorable part was how wonderful that feeling of connection felt. I may work alone in my studio, but I know I’m supported by the bond I share with the Twelves and other wonderful friends.  

The 12x12 International Art Quilt Challenge can be viewed at www.twelveby12.org .

See more of Diane's work at http://goingtopieces.blogspot.com.

Twelve by Twelve Art Quilter :: Terry Grant

Terry Grant
:: Terry Grant ::

I remember one of the other Twelves said that when she was first asked to join the group she almost said "no." Not me. I jumped at the chance. Not because I thought it would ever lead to all the amazing things it has, including a book, but because I am fascinated with the process of creativity and how it manifests itself so differently in different people. A challenge is always a study in how people take a beginning idea and then fly off in as many directions as there are participants. I always want to know how people get from A to Z.

Terry Grant A to Z
My own journey from A to Z has been a circuitous and branching path. I have always loved to draw and paint. I have always loved to sew. I have been a painter and a printmaker and a weaver and prodigious crafter forever. I got a degree in art and taught. I sewed clothes and dolls and curtains and eventually quilts. I screen printed and made batiks. Then after far too many years it finally occurred to me that all these things could work together with my love of sewing and I became an art quilter. I have never looked back.

Terry Grant

I continued making other work all the while we have been making our Twelve by Twelve challenges and I have loved the focus of the challenges that took me to places I would not have gone on my own and let me in on eleven other creative minds at work on the same challenge. Some might view such a project as a "game" or merely entertaining, but for me it has been a hugely creative and instructive exercise, which has resulted in new directions for my work. It is not an exaggeration to say my life has been changed by the Twelve by Twelve project.

Terry Grant
The 12x12 International Art Quilt Challenge can be viewed at www.twelveby12.org.

See more of Terry's work at http://andsewitgoes.blogspot.com.

Twelve by Twelve Art Quilter :: Nikki Wheeler

  Nikki Wheeler
:: Nikki Wheeler ::

A Whole New World
I fell into art quilting when my fourth child was a toddler. I'm sure many of you know how crazy that stage of life can be. My time was spent cooking, cleaning and refereeing – endless work that was undone faster than I could do it. I longed for something creative and beautiful and just for me. Teetering on depression, one Sunday afternoon in November, I escaped from the family and headed to Barnes & Noble. I found Quilting Arts, Cloth Paper Scissors and Somerset Studio magazines and my life hasn't been the same. The combination of fabric, stitch, painting and embellishment spoke to my heart and drew me in. I devoured the magazines and ordered back issues. I added books and supplies to my Christmas wish list. I jumped on the Internet and found a whole new world.

Nikki Wheeler
Endless Combinations
What a luscious world it is.  One of my favorite things about art quilting and mixed media is the diversity. Style, size, materials and techniques are wide open. There is always room for experimentation and development of something new. The vast choices create endless combinations allowing each person to develop their own voice. Personally, I like to combine as much color and texture as possible. Fondling materials such as silk fabric, wool felt, fuzzy yarns, vintage buttons and glass beads is half the fun. Combining them in unexpected ways creates a feast for the eyes. To make up for the gray days around here, I like to use a rainbow of colors in all tints, tones and shades. And of course, add a little sparkle with metallic threads, paints, pens and embellishments. 

Nikki Wheeler
Anything is Possible
I really have no idea where I would be artistically without the Twelve by Twelve group. I am so lucky to have been taken under the wings of these wonderful women right at the beginning of my artistic journey. They have inspired me, kept me moving forward when life has tried to throw me off track and made dreams come true. Each theme has challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and try something new, often resulting in a new series of work. Other times, I have used the pieces to push a current line of thinking further. And of course there are the months when I feel beaten down by life, but the commitment to the group has brought me back to the studio where I'm always renewed.  Plus, I just need to think about our book, Twelve by Twelve The International Art Quilt Challenge and my spirit soars knowing anything is possible. 

Nikki Wheeler

The 12x12 International Art Quilt Challenge can be viewed at www.twelveby12.org.

See more of Nikki's work at www.nikkiwheeler.blogspot.com.


Twelve by Twelve Art Quilter :: Karen Rips

   Karen Rips

:: Karen Rips ::

Heart of Art and Craft
I don’t believe that it is possible to make “excellent” art in isolation. Over the years, I have had the good fortune to take classes from talented artists and crafters who have taught me techniques such as deconstructed screen printing, precision dyeing, discharge and paper lamination just to name a few. I’ve learned different approaches for stitching the fabric, including raw edge and free motion. But while good technique is essential, the ability to express an idea to others through your chosen medium is at the heart of art and craft. When I was asked by Diane to join the “Twelves,” I recognized the perfect opportunity to push and develop my work with the help of with eleven other talented fiber artists.

Karen Rips Working Out Problems
The favorite part about what I do is working out problems. If I have something that’s not going right I spend hours thinking about it, reworking it until I figure out what’s wrong. The 12” size works well for exploration and is big enough to see if that idea would work in a larger format, but can also stand on its own as a finished piece. I tend to work abstract, and love deciphering the lines of what I see in simple forms. My process includes years of “making” my own fabric, then having a huge stash to pull from when putting together my artwork. To be able to take fabric that starts out white and use multiple processes to turn it into a piece of art where people say “how did she do that” is a wonderful feeling.

Karen Rips
Outside the Comfort Zone
I like to work in series, often based on what is happening around me, or from personal experiences. For example I recently completed a “construction” series, and currently I’m exploring images from X-rays, MRI’s and CT scans. I keep journals where I save color swatches, make notes, and save cutup pictures from art magazines. While I don’t seem to have trouble coming up with ideas, the Twelves current Colorplay series has been difficult since using color as a starting point is counter intuitive to me. That being said, the beauty of this challenge is that it is pushing me to go outside of my comfort zone.

Finally I would like to say that whatever art or craft you’ve chosen as your passion, it matters to love what you do, embrace it, learn all you can about it, then go forth and make it.

The 12x12 International Art Quilt Challenge can be viewed at www.twelveby12.org.

See more of Karen’s work at fiberartmusings.blogspot.com.


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