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Quilt Surface Design Symposium is held at Columbus College of Art and Design where visitors have no question that ART is front and center on campus. Photo by Dana Jones.

The first day of class at QSDS was fun, inspiring, exhausting. Through Sunday, I'm enrolled in an independent study class with Michael James. I'm surrounded by amazing quilters, each with a unique focus for the week. Beyond the joy of having seven full days to focus on stitching, I hope to get more clarity on where I want my quilting to go next and how to juggle making art with teaching and speaking. Stay tuned for where this week takes me.

My work space in the independent study classroom

Deciding what to work on is the first challenge in this class. I'm hoping to complete more of the blocks in the quilt I began in Maria Shell's "Riffing on Tradition" class last summer. It's been almost a year since that class so it really is time to complete this.

Today, I finished the smallest block on the right side design wall. (Every participant has two work tables and two design walls.) I also completed the center of another block. That's the long, narrow strip on the right design wall. I hope to complete that block and get most if not all of the work done on another block tomorrow.

This quilt, a riff on the Ohio Star block, will be called, "I'm Not From Ohio." That title printed on the post-its in my fabric bins threw one of the other members of the class a bit. She is from Ohio so wondered what in the world I meant with those labels. Once she saw the blocks, she enjoyed the twist on the blocks' name.

I have several other projects with me so I'm not sure if all my attention will be on this or I'll work on one or both of the other projects too.

My class this week is on the third floor of the building above. The campus was lovely this morning with art and wildlife to enjoy before digging into the day's work/fun. Photos by Dana Jones.

I'm looking forward to Day 2. I hope some of my classmates will let me take photos of their works in progress to share. Watch for those soon.

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En route to the Quilt Surface Design Symposium in Columbus, Ohio, I stopped to visit my sister. We spent the day in her amazing garden. I hope you'll enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them and spending the day among these gorgeous blooms.

A bit of wisdom among the flowers

The lawn at Tin Cup RV Park

Tin Cup RV Park near Lake in the Woods Forest Preserve:

A Great Place to Stay

I stayed two nights at Tin Cup RV Park, which is a privately-owned local campground with lots of space between sites, full hookups, helpful staff, and a lush green lawn that was a delight to walk on barefoot. Lawns aren't a thing in Colorado where I live so it's nice to enjoy the morning dew between my toes from time to time.

Rain the day before I arrived meant lots of mushrooms/toadstools had popped up and the clover was everywhere just ready to be picked and tied into necklaces and bracelets, a favorite past time of mine as a child growing up in the Midwest.

A Flash From the Not-Too-Distant Past

I recently taught and spoke for the League of Northern Colorado Quilters who meet in Loveland, Colorado. Outside, it a was a gray, rainy day – rare in Colorado though we always welcome the rain. Inside was a different story. It was a warm, fun group that got into making Fabulous Freeform table runners. A few folks even expanded theirs to bed-sized quilts.

I really enjoy teaching for guilds, and being in-person with a great group quilters was a treat. A shout out to program chair Carla Lucas for all the hard work she did to set up the day. Thanks, Carla!

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Bailey's RV Resort and Campground, Seneca, Kansas. Photo by Dana Jones.

I took off yesterday — May 26, 2022 — with Emma (my trusty Rpod camper for those of you who haven't met her yet) to drive to Columbus, Ohio, for the Quilt Surface Design Symposium. It was smooth sailing through eastern Colorado and western Kansas. I love Highway 36. The 65 mph speed limit is perfect for cruising with Emma in tow. We made no quilt-shop stops as we had 600+ miles to cover.

Emma had a facelift for the trip. Her braking system is repaired, the lock on her storage area is smoother than it's ever been, her cracked storage shelf has been reinforced, she has a top-of-the-line metal shower head that delivers the best water pressure ever, and perhaps best of all, she has a new, electric tongue jack. No more cranking after a full day of driving!

At left, Emma at Tin Cup RV Campground,

central Illinois near Lake in the Hills

Forest Preserve.

Not familiar with the term tongue jack? Neither was I until I got Emma a few years ago. It's a support for the front end of the camper that's part of the hitch. You raise and lower it to hitch to the tow vehicle and use it to level the camper front to back, which is helpful in keeping you from rolling out of bed because the camper is pitched forward or background. I used to have a hand crank. Now I just push a button. Cool!

Emma has a few repairs to go. Join me in hoping her door doesn't come off or refuse to close on this trip. When we get home, she'll have a new door and new blinds waiting to be installed.

I have to do a big shout out to Jefe's Mobile RV Service. Jeff Ramos, owner of this super company that comes to you — even when you live in the mountains — is beyond competent. I don't think he travels cross country to repair RVs but he does have a good size service area in Colorado so if you're a Coloradan, check out his website for your use and to recommend to others.

BTW: Emma's new door will have a window in it!

Crossroads Quilting in Cameron, Missouri, is just a minute south of Highway 36.

So What About Quilting?

While there was no time for quilt shop stops on Day 1, today I squeezed in two: Crossroads Quilting in Cameron, Missouri, and Cuts & Bolts in Chillicothe, Missouri. My purchases weren't too exciting: Some solids (I'm building my solid stash) and a bolt of PFD (prepared for dyeing) Bella white by Moda. I always enjoy seeing what shops in various places carry. Crossroads is a shop I've visited a few times before. It is an interesting maze of rooms that seems to go on and on. It was my first stop at Cuts & Bolts, which had a similar layout and lots of solids to choose out.

At Crossroads Quilting, I picked up a copy of Vintage Notions by Amy Barickman. It says it's "an inspirational guide to needlework, cooking sewing, fashion and fun." The back cover says the book was inspired by the wisdom of Mary Brooks Picken, a pioneer in the domestic arts. How could I pass it up? You'll have to wait to see if I recommend it as I first will finish reading Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over by Nell Painter. That's my homework for the independent study I will do with Michael James at the Quilt Surface Design Symposium next week. I'm a few chapters in and finding it a good read.

At Home in the Prairie

I grew up playing in tall-grass prairie, a landscape that speaks to me like no other place. A few days in the lush, green spring prairie so full of dew you think it rained over night restores my soul.

More Blogs to Come

I'm not sure when I'll blog again but it will be soon. I'm on the road into June. I'll be at QSDS for two weeks. The first seven days is independent study with Michael James. Then I'll spend five days silk screening with Pat Pauly. Talk about restoring my soul!

Before I head back West, I'll spend a bit of time at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, one of a dozen national parks still on my bucket list to visit.

I won't go straight back to Colorado but rather swing south to Belen, New Mexico, for the celebration of 50 years since Judy Chicago and Miriam Shapiro brought women artists to the world's attention with Womanhouse. Wo/Manhouse 2022 will be June 18. The event will include exhibition of a portion of the International Honor Quilt. More on this later.

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

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