Picture Piecing with Ruth Powers

Ruth Powers was here to teach a 5-day workshop on Picture Piecing – that’s starting with a photo for inspiration and learning to break it down into easy piece-able sections.

This is a close up of one of Ruth’s award-winning quilts.

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This is the start to a piece being created by Corinne Levy of a couple of maple of leaves.

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Then here is the finished piece!

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After finishing the pricing, Corinne was practicing some free-motion stitching.

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Here are couple more closes of two more of Ruth’s marvelous work.

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Everyone enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the studio and being able to continue working (or chatting) after hours.

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At the first dinner for the workshop, Ruth surprised us when she presented us with a pieced picture of our Dalmatian, Hudson! She said that she use a photo of Hudson that she found on our website. Thank you so much, Ruth!

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Painting and Mark Making with Acrylic Inks – Judy Coates Perez

The class exceeded all expectations – fabulous & the classroom experience was practically perfect in every way. The meals were outstanding, as usual!” – Diane E.

Known for her stunning whole cloth painted art quilts, Judy Coates Perez recently taught a three day workshop for us at Hudson River Valley Art Workshops. Everyone agreed that three days were not enough time for all the gems that Judy had to offer. They kiddingly asked if maybe the next incoming class wouldn’t mind if they stayed in just one corner of the studio for a few more days! Unfortunately jobs and schedules prevented this from being a serious option.

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These two photos are close ups of some of Judy’s work. Luscious color!

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These are some of the great stamps that Judy has made and brought for the class to experiment, but she also showed them how to make their own.

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You can read more about Judy’s work in the interview on our blog.

The next workshops coming up areExpressing Yourself: One Piece at a Time,” a 5-day class taught by Sheila Frampton-Cooper (still time to join in even though it starts on Monday, April 27th!) and then The Artful Log Cabin,” a 5-day workshop taught by Katie Pasquini Masopust.

Photo + Stitch = Fun with Natalya Aiken

Natalya Aiken, a fiber artist from New York, just taught a three day workshop on her process of combining her love of photography, architecture, with art quilts.

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These are some of Natalya’s work. The detail and texture on these pieces are magnificent and the photos don’t do them justice.

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Natalya brought her printer and provided rolls of printable surfaces.

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Here is something from one of the students; images that were manipulated in PhotoShop and then printing on sheer fabric.

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A closer look at the printer, an Epson, I believe.

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More student work exploring combined images, stitching for texture, and printing.
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Here is Jane in her corner of the studio with various prints hanging on her design boards.

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You can read more about Natalya’s work in our interview with her on our blog.

Sue Benner discusses creating superb quilts, and teaching.

One of our most popular Fiber Arts Instructors, Sue Benner, will be at the Hudson River Valley Fiber Art Workshops to teach a five day class, Construction/Abstraction, August 23 to 29, 2015.

This 2015 Workshop is fully enrolled / Wait List only, but Sue will return in the Autumn of 2017. Like so many of you, we can’t wait!

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How long have you been teaching and what got you started teaching?

Although I taught occasionally as a young artist, I didn’t begin to teach in earnest until after starting my family.  After my first son was born, Nancy Crow and Linda Fowler asked me to teach at the Quilt/Surface Design Symposium (QSDS) in 1992.  After my second son was born, I taught again at QSDS in 1996 and have been teaching steadily at various conferences and venues ever since.


Actually, I have recently reduced my teaching schedule to make more time for studio work.  Hudson Valley is a venue that is still on my list for good reason!


What is your favorite part about teaching?

My favorite part of teaching comes when my students dare to take risks, and when they have a sense of astonishment about their own work.  I love it when someone makes a leap in the work and says, “I didn’t know I could do that!” or, “I didn’t know I had it in me!”


What would you tell your prospective students are three best reasons for taking a workshop?

Taking a workshop at Hudson Valley Art Workshops has even more perks.

• Having 5 days to leave your day to day life behind to spend in concentration and intensity with your art;

• Meeting other artistic people with whom to share ideas, get feedback about your work, and have fun in the process;

• Finding how your quilts relate to others and having the mental space to reframe your work.

Of course this is on top of learning new skills and techniques and all the other perks of staying at the Greenville Arms Inn.


What are you currently working on in your own art?

I am currently preparing for a solo show at the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange, Texas (April 2-June 28, 2015).  The title of the show is “Circling the Square” in which I explore expanding the tradition of the grid as a framework for the art quilt  through the use of color, texture, and shape to add dimension and a new sense of space to the art quilt.


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Where is your art currently being exhibited?

In addition to the show at the Texas Quilt Museum, I will have work at the Bilston Craft Gallery in Bilston, West Midlands, in the United Kingdom (May 9 – July 4, 2015), and at the Georgetown Art Center in Georgetown, TX (March 2015).

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN commissioned 3 pieces of my work in 2013 and another even larger work (about 104” wide) that I completed in January 2015. 

Last year I curated a show at the Museum of Geometric and MADI Art called “Quilts: The New Geometry” that included two of my works as well as quilts by nine other artists.


Is your work represented in galleries, and if so, what hints would you give to artists looking for gallery representation?  

Yes, I am represented by several galleries in the United States.

My advice would be to be prolific, make a lot of work.  Develop your ideas and work in a series—or several.  Get high quality professional photographs made of your work. Join professional organizations.  Keep detailed records of your work, shows, and build your resume.  Enter contests and calls for entry.  Visit galleries where you want to be shown.  Get to know the gallery director; be visible.


Here is the big thing: Show your work outside your medium, not just in quilt shows.


Do you sell your work in any online gallery?

I do not sell work online in my own website (www.suebenner.com), but prospective buyers are able to contact me on it.  I also am part of a selected group of quilt artists called Through Our Hands (www.throughourhands.co.uk) out of the United Kingdom that actively promotes, displays, and features my work in their website and online magazine.


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What is your favorite art quote?  I have many, but one that seems particularly poignant right now is from artist and illustrator, Maira Kalman from the commencement address she delivered to the class of 2013.  (My older son, Kellan Jett graduated from RISD that year as an illustration major.)

“Caring passionately about your work will make you happy,” Kalman said, and later closed with this admonition: “Go forth with kindness, meanness, courage, fear, compassion. Go forth with knowing and having no idea – and knowing that having no idea is completely acceptable and real. Commence with confusion. Commence with a sense of humor. Walk, breathe, retreat. Commence with an idea… It’ll be amazing to see what you do.”


Describe your studio.

My studio is located right behind my house and my short commute makes going to work every day very convenient.  The main room of the studio is about 22’x45’ with a garden shed on one end and a bathroom and utility/dye room on the other.  One long side of the studio serves as my design and photography wall, and the other long side is a bank of bookshelf-lined windows that allow for lots storage and natural light.  On one end is the “office,” the sewing machines are in the middle, and the design/painting/dyeing space is adjacent to the utility room.  I have a great table (15’ long) and some open floor space that gets used for dyeing and painting or strewing fabric about. 

My studio is in a state of constant flux and sometimes chaos.  It is not a fancy, cute, or decorated space (maybe someday…), but it a great place to work.

My studio assistant is Judy Sullivan, and she helps to keep everything together!


Read more of our recent Instructor interviews:

An Interview with Elizabeth Barton, Art Quilt Designer and Instructor


An Interview with Tony van Hasselt, Watercolor Artist


An interview with Lorenzo Chavez: Prominent Landscape Painter in Pastels and Oils


An Interview with Leah Lopez, Award-Winning Artist and Instructor


An Interview with Frank Francese, Watercolor Artist


An Interview with David Daniels: Artist in Watercolor + more


An interview with Judy Coates Perez, mixed media textile artist.


Interview with Liz Kenyon, Pastel Painting Instructor


Patti Mollica discusses creating her art, and teaching


An Interview with Kim English, Oil Painter


An Interview with Barbara Nechis, Watercolor Artist


An interview with Hollis Chatelain: Fiber Artist


An Interview with Natalya Aikens: Computer + Stitch = Art Quilt


Ruth Powers: Designing and Sewing for Picture Piecing



It Figures Margaret Dyer Would Present a Great Workshop

Margaret Dyer returned to teach another wonderful, fun, and informative workshop on pastel figure painting.

Some of the student comments were:

“Excellent teacher, learned a lot and had fun doing it!” and “This class offered way more than I expected. Lots of one to one instruction – helpful all the way.”

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Fun was had at the dinner table, too! Here is one of the desserts in the process of being decorated – yummy Napoleon with an organic white chocolate topping with dark chocolate stripes.

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Next up on the schedule is painting and mark-making on fabric with acrylic inks taught by Judy Coates Perez, followed by designing and sewing for picture piecing taught by Ruth Powers.