Friday, June 13, 2014

Life Changers

Shortly after finding out that Mariposa was juried into the exhibition in Texas two major life altering events occurred in our house. The first was the addition of a new family member. Meet my granddaughter, Riley Paige Theriault who was born on December 11, 2013. She is my first grandchild and I am over the moon in love with her! Below is a photograph of my oldest son Nicholas, with his newborn daughter. 

Having Riley in our lives made getting things done in the studio rather pointless for a while. Who can resist a baby to coo over and cuddle.

I did manage to get a Christmas stocking made for miss Riley. It's made of felt and has lots of hand embroidery and sparkly sequins. Christmas was so much fun this year with a baby around and I am looking forward to many years of holidays with my little angel.

Unfortunately, there was another life changer that happened during the month of December. Right after Thanksgiving I was having some health issues and did some testing to find out that I had a tumor on my right kidney. It was malignant but small and was removed in January. It took a while before I got back on my feet from surgery but I am glad to say that they did remove it all and I did not need chemo or radiation.

Makes you think! Even though it was a very slow growing cancer, found early, I had a lot of time to think about my ticking clock. I came away from it feeling a strong desire to get busy in my studio. The first piece I did after my surgery was Seeing Spots, seen right. This piece is expressive of how I had been feeling at the time, like a Cheshire cat blending in to life but whose spots, one in particular, were giving him away. Every fabric I chose had dots in it. 

7" x 10"
January, 2014
Cotton batiks & hand-dyes
Fused and machine stitched and quilted

This is my Trunk Show piece for SAQA. It is in Trunk show E which will start out showing in Brazil, then it goes to Virginia/North Carolina, followed by Colorado.

20" x 22 1/2"
March, 2014
Cotton batik & hand-dyes, silk dupioni & brocade, beads
Fused and machine stitched and quilted.

Summer Breeze was created quickly as a response to a request that came to me just as I was getting better in my recovery. The request was from a woman soliciting donations to an auction for a cancer center in Rhode Island. God moves in mysterious ways. I felt it was a sign that I needed to give a little back for the luck of having my cancer diagnosed so early. I thought about all the others who might not be so lucky, who might not have insurance and be facing large bills. While having some of these myself, what I could do was donate a piece. So I did. And it sold to the collection of Dr. James Mezhir.

Now I have been one who believes that artists should not give away their work. And I'm sure we could all have a huge discussion about it. But I'm alive! And I am appreciative. End of story. 

I cleaned up my studio a bit and took a look at upcoming calls for entry. There are a lot out there. I was hoping to enter one in this year's IQF and chose the one about pets. A friend, left, had just undergone a devastating loss. Her mother died of cancer rather quickly and she took it extremely hard. Young and alone she felt more than just grief, it was panic and despair. Her cat, Medonja, was all that was keeping her sane. This little cat is responsible for easing her deep depression. Sometimes our pets do more for us than people do. With Gabriele's permission I started my new quilt, based on this photograph of her and her beloved Medonja.

Of course, IQF requires you to keep images of quilts off of social media. So no one but Gabriele has seen my progress. I was chugging along and doing very well.

Then life happened again. This has been a challenging year. My husband's mother, Marggi suddenly became ill. We dropped everything and flew to Florida on Mother's Day. Marggi passed on the following Tuesday. We stayed a while with family, working on how to deal with her funeral, which was to be up here in New England. We flew home, prepared a bit and welcomed the Florida/California family into our home until her funeral, which was 10 days later.

Marggi was a creative and vibrant woman, who loved life and always had a sunny disposition, even when she was ill. Above Marggi is flanked by Brad, her grandson and my husband Tony, or Anthony as she always called him. 

You will be missed Marggi.

This brings me up to current time. I missed the IQF deadline, needless to say. On the 31st of May, the MA/RI region of SAQA had their quarterly meeting. One of our reps who is new to the position, Sue Bleiweiss, has been a very busy bee. Her enthusiasm is catchy and I am now greatly involved with our newly formed regional Exhibition Committee. 

I am the Co-Chair of this committee which I am sharing with Sue. With 10 members searching for possible venues, thinking of theme ideas and pitching in to make phone calls and send emails, we are having some success at finding willing venues. I will be posting about our successes and upcoming calls going out to the region. Sue is penning a new blog for us in MA/RI. You can check out what we are doing at:

One of her goals is for us to have our own regional trunk show which will travel throughout the region. The piece above, detail below is my submission to this trunk show.

9" x 11"
May, 2014
Commercial fabrics, batiks and silk
Fused applique, machine stitched and quilted

Can you hear the buzz of the bee in the yellow quilt lines?

While I was in Florida, a call for entry came due. Before I left I put together everything I needed to send it off. My daughter, Andie helped me get it done by sending off the email and mailing my entry. It was accepted.

25" x 30"
July, 2009
Commercial fabrics, hand-dyes, beads, sunflower petal beads
Fused appliqued and machine stitched

Nancy's Garden will be at the Whistler House Museum of Art in Lowell, MA from August 20 - September 20 for a show called "How Does Your Garden Grow?". The Artist Reception and Awards is on Saturday, August 23 from 1-3pm.

So I am back in my studio staring two new deadlines squarely in the eyes. I am finishing the one above and entering into another show. Still hush, hush. So I'm afraid you will not be seeing it for a while unless it is rejected. And I am looking to finish Queen Bee as well. Both need to be done in September. Hoo boy! I need to stop chatting and get back to my machine. 


  1. Thanks for the catch up, Nancy. I am glad that there have been happy moments along with the sad. I am so happy you are having such great success…..must be because you are living your passion. :) Take care.

  2. Thank you Judy, yes when you live for what you love life is so much more fulfilling.