Friday, April 4, 2014

Artist in Residence

From a letter to the parents at my child's elementary school:

"The Cultural Arts Committee of the PTO provides assemblies and programs that are educational, stimulating and fun for students at Craig. We cover a range of subjects and approaches in order to reach the varied learning styles and interests of our students. For several years we have discussed the possibility of hosting another performer in residence. That is a guest “teacher” who spends a longer time at the school and is able to meet with students in more intimate, classroom settings than can be achieved during a morning assembly.

We are planning to bring artist Anne Francey to Craig School as our artist in residence in March. Ms. Francey, a native of Switzerland, is a resident of Saratoga Springs (NY) where she is an art professor at Skidmore College. She also conducts art workshops for students. Her goal in these workshops is creating collaborative murals using ceramic or paper tiles, which combine to reflect a stated theme for the community.  We think her work is beautiful and meaningful and we are excited about what she has to offer to our students.

Ms. Francey will work with us on a program called 1001 Faces, which will involve the whole school; students and faculty, in the creation of individual portraits a which are affixed permanently to a series of wall panels."

Here is the amazing result:

 Thank you Craig School PTO for the wonderful experience of Ms. Francey and her art.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Full Circle

Once upon a Fall afternoon in 2008 I wandered into my Pastor's office and declared, "I have a project I want to take on, but need accountability. Can you help me?" 

That moment began my relationship with the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative ( and my promise to make them enough small format (9 by 12 inches or smaller) quilts to raise $1000 for Alzheimer's research. My pastor's role was to provide a small piece of wall space upon which I would place the quilts each month and she would help me name them. 

Over the next five years I made 30 little quilts included these and earned $1250. for the cause. I also dedicated my 40th birthday party to AAQI (and my church's Camp Fowler and doubled the amount above. It was a perfect union of my ability to be creative,  to FINISH something, as well as the goal of fulfilling my promise to the organization. A perfect storm which kicked off a full-circle moment that came to conclusion this week.


Simultaneously as my little work and contribution, Ami Simms and the team at AAQI had monthly auctions, continual online sales and the following traveling quilt exhibit to raise funds and awareness about Alzheimer's disease.
"Alzheimer's Illustrated: From Heartbreak to Hope" was a traveling quilt exhibit about Alzheimer's. It was exhibited at venues throughout the United States through September 2013.

The exhibit featured 236 quilts. Long, narrow "Name Quilts" were made from 55 purple patches, each marked with the name of a person who has/had Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia.

The "wrong" side of the fabric patches are showing. The color looks faded. The bright side of the cloth, full of the color and pattern of life, has been turned to the inside of the quilt, never to be seen again.

The Name Quilts created a wall more than 10,000 names, representing and honoring the 5.4 million people in the United States who have this horrid disease.

Hanging among the Name Quilts were 54 small format art quilts that tell the story of Alzheimer's from a variety of perspectives.

In the last minutes of the AAQI project which is now officially retired as they raised over $1.1 Million for Alzheimer's research projects, I purchased three of these Name Quilts. There is a label on the back of each saying who collected the names, where and who quilted it.
Here are some detail photos.

The full circle moment came when I made two of these long quilts into stoles as thank you gifts for my pastors. Jan and Craig Hoffman are a husband and wife ministry team. They have served our church, The First Reformed Church of Scotia, New York, for 20 years and this week marks the beginning of their next 20 years with us. Pastor Jan was my support through this project and knows Alzheimer's disease intimately through the suffering of family and of church members.

This gift provided closure for me of a long time commitment and passion, as well as a tribute to all those who know Alzheimer's as victims or caregivers.

Pastor Craig reminded us that "even when we do not know who the names are (on the strips of fabric), or even when we can't remember our own name, God knows and names us His Own." 
For that, I am thankful.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Broadcasts of Beautiful Music

A musician first, quilter second, this post is an addendum to my new Facebook Page: Musical Advent Calendar 2013. Here are two listening opportunities for the computer savvy. One is from my Alma mater, Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and the other is from King's College, Cambridge, England.


On WWFM, The Classical Network: An Evening of Readings and Carols presented by Westminster Choir College of Rider University at the Princeton University Chapel

 TODAY:  Monday December 23, 2013 at 8 pm &
Christmas Day, 2013 at 4 pm


A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Cover of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols booklet 2013
A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is the Christmas Eve service held in King's College Chapel. The Festival was introduced in 1918 to bring a more imaginative approach to worship. It was first broadcast in 1928 and is now broadcast to millions of people around the world.
The service includes carols and readings from the Bible. The opening carol is always 'Once in Royal David's City', and there is always a new, specially commissioned carol.
Download the 2013 service booklet

You can download the 2013 Carols from King's service booklet, but please be aware that service may not have been broadcast in its entirety due to time restrictions, and may not have been in the order printed due to film editing.

Listening to the service

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is broadcast live on BBC Radio 4 on 24 December at 3pm (10:00 EST or 07:00 PST). The service is also broadcast at 2pm on Radio 3 on Christmas Day, and at various times on the BBC World Service.
In the United States the service is broadcast by around 300 radio stations, including American Public Media and its affiliates (Minnesota Public Radio and WNYC-New York, for example). Unfortunately there is no list of radio stations that are broadcasting the service, so it's best to contact your local stations or check their online listings.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Advent in Music and Stairs

 Advent: A time of waiting in anticipation for the arrival of Jesus at Christmas.

Also known as a very busy month of December as one runs around preparing house, home, and gifts for family and friends while simultaneously attending every tree-lighting, concert and work-related "party" offered.

"Where is the time for me?" I find myself asking in this long month of busy, busy, busy.

I've found it in two Advent offerings.

First is a blog of my friend Larry Litman. He offers images of "Stairs in Rome" (his home). One image each day. They are ancient stairs, modern stairs and unlikely stairs.

Here is the link:

Second, is my little offering. From Facebook (which means you have to log in first), one piece of music which I just love and found freely on the internet shared each day until Epiphany. They are classical, modern, jazz, etc. A music lovers playland.

Here is the link:


Enjoy and Happy Advent. 
May you too find a few moments for yourself in this busy season.

Friday, December 6, 2013

2014 Quilters United In Learning Together Schenectady (New York) Raffle Quilt

The 2014 Q.U.I.L.T.S. Guild Raffle Quilt!!!!!

Pieced by members of the Square One Friendship Group 
and quilted by Eileen McCabe of Quilting Threads

Pattern: "Pinwheel Parade" by 
Marlous Carter of Marlous Designs  

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Season of Gratitude

This is the fabric I'm giving away tomorrow. It is six fat quarters from my super secret Autumn stash.
In order to be entered in the drawing please comment either here or on any other October post about your favorite part of this upcoming Season of Gratitude (my term for all things Thanksgiving). 
Thanks, This Quilting Mama.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Synchronicity and Bears!

"Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see."
Carl Jung (1875-1961)

“According to Vedanta, there are only two symptoms of enlightenment, just two indications that a transformation is taking place within you toward a higher consciousness. The first symptom is that you stop worrying. Things don't bother you anymore. You become light-hearted and full of joy. The second symptom is that you encounter more and more meaningful coincidences in your life, more and more synchronicities. And this accelerates to the point where you actually experience the miraculous." 
(Quoted by Carol Lynn Pearson in Consider the Butterfly)

I don't know about the enlightenment part, but I do like it when things just come together. 

The "Bear's Paw" quilt pattern, which I featured in last week's post regarding my Christmas Bears, is "the traditional name for several patterns in western Pennsylvania and Ohio, where bear tracks were a common sight. The same basic pattern also goes by the names of Duck's Foot in the Mud, Hands of Friendship and Hands All Around." (Source: "America's Beautiful Quilts" by Zaro Weil)

Since my last post about all those little bear paws, my friend in film released the Seventh Movement  of his Ode to the Motorcycle at the website Opus Badass. (NOTE: There is also a Facebook page with the same name you can reference if you prefer.) Called "The Bear and the Motorcycle," it is (in the artist's own words), "the story is about a bear who is tired of being a circus act and just simply wants to be... a bear. The problem is, when he attempts to live like a bear in the woods, he becomes frightened of the elements and threats (i.e. the hunters), and he hauls ass out of there. When on the side of the road in despair, the little girl who saw him at the circus notices him again and observes how sad he is and gives him flowers to let him know he is loved and always has been."  Be sure to have your volume up as the music is the beautiful third character in the piece. Enjoy! 

The next day, while out to lunch with a girlfriend at a local tea house called  The Tailored Tea, I looked up and saw the most fun acrylic and oil paintings of bears camping, canoeing, eating S'Mores and WOW-- riding motorcycles! Here are some photos.

The art of Roger L. Dowse, local Schenectady contractor by day and artist by passion, fills the walls (and is for sale) of the tea house. "All I want to do is see people smile and laugh." That is how Mr. Dowse explained his art to me in a phone call to gain permission to share his work. Yes, laugh I did as my bear paws, my quilts of friendship, Opus Badass Mvt. 7 "The Bear and the Motorcycle," and finally Mr. Dowse's artist statement all collided in my brain. It seems that, like me, Mr. Dowse finds his art therapeutic. He writes, "Nineteen months ago my father passed away, and I needed to paint more. It became my healing therapy to soothe my intense grief and loss. My usual subject of work involves landscapes and wildlife. By happenstance one night I started to paint bears engaged in human activities. The result was whimsical, comical and seems to make everyone giggle. The laughter was healing and I finally felt that sense of fulfillment."

Thank you for the art, Mr. Dowse, and for sharing your story with us. For further information, Roger Dowse's e-mail is

 Meanwhile, if you are local to the Schenectady/ Albany area, check out this amazing lunch at The Tailored Tea.