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    Note: Dates shown are when exhibits are open. Classes begin earlier.
    • 2012
    • International Quilt Festival/Cincinnati
      April 13-15, 2012
      Preview Night & Classes
      begin April 12
      Cincinnati, Ohio
      Duke Energy Convention Center
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    • International Quilt Market/Spring
      May 18-20, 2012
      Classes begin May 17
      Kansas City, Missouri
      Kansas City Convention Center
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      July 27-29, 2012
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      Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center
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      October 27-29, 2012
      Classes begin October 26
      Houston, Texas
      George R. Brown Convention Center
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    • International Quilt Festival/
      Houston

      November 1-4, 2012
      Preview Night October 31
      Classes begin October 29
      Houston, Texas
      George R. Brown Convention Center
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      Catalogue will be available mid/late July 2012

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Column #59

Thread Wit

B.J. Adams' studio
B.J. Adams’ studio

Late Summer
Late Summer

Entering the second-story studio of Washington, D.C.-based fiber artist B.J. Adams is like walking inside a rainbow. Boxes and spools of thread in every conceivable shade of every imaginable color line shelves along the walls and cluster around her self-described “old” Bernina sewing machine on the work table. Light filters through treetops visible from the windows that surround the airy space, while sketchpads, fabric, and works-in-progress coexist and add still more color to the mix. It is a reflective place, both in terms of light and creativity.

This is where Adams fashions the pieces that have been shown all over the world  (including at three Quilt Nationals), that have been featured in numerous publications—both in North America and abroad—and that are included in corporate collections across the United States. This is where she executes the ideas that fill her sketchpads and where she turns them into fiber art. And while the witty, playful touches that can frequently be found in her work may be realized here, they start somewhere deep in the artist’s imagination.

Kiss
Kiss






Adams’ formal education in fine art dovetailed with her love of sewing and fabric to form a happy merger of skill and interest. “My artistic life began with painting and drawing. And, I always designed and made my own clothes,” she states. “These two pursuits found a common end with fiber art. When I discovered fabric and thread as a medium, a whole new textural world opened and ideas poured forth. The sewing machine has become my brush and pencil; hundreds of colors of thread have become paint for realistic and abstract images set on various backgrounds.”

First she makes a drawing of the image she has in mind—either from a model or from a photograph, and then uses colored pencils to define it and to serve as a template, of sorts, for which threads and fabrics she will select to create the finished piece. “I only need a straight stitch and a zigzag,” Adams says. “A single line of thread is like a single line of a sketch, although thread colors are much more intense than those of colored pencils.”

Chairs - Medium
Chairs - Medium


In addition to the beautiful colors and artistic flair always evident in Adams’ work, many of her pieces contain elements that reflect her sense of humor.

For example, her series entitled Wing Chairs features various types of chairs with a bird or an insect perched on the arm of each one. Late Summer contains hands holding the top of the quilt. The hands were added after organizers of the exhibit for which the piece was being submitted for consideration told Adams that the quilt had to be “professionally photographed, with no hands holding up the quilt.” Kiss features hands finger-spelling that word in American Sign Language, surrounded by translations in many other languages.

To commemorate entering her eighth decade, she is now working on a series of 80 eight-inch by eight-inch pieces in groups with different themes. “I like to put real things in my work in unexpected ways,” Adams says, with a twinkle in her eye. It will be fun for the rest of us to see what she comes up with.

 

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Archived blogs:

Column 108: Quilting to Freedom
Column 107: National Quilting Day
Column 106: The Airing of the Quilts
Column 105: A Call for a National Juneteenth Commemorative Quilt
Column 104: Dominoes
Column 103: 1936 Texas Centennial Bluebonnet Quilt
Column 102: Helen Blackstone, A Texas Quilter
Column 101: Montana CattleWomen Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 100: 100th Suzy's Fancy Column!
Column 99: Montana Stockgrowers Anniversary Brand Quilt
Column 98: The Tobacco Sack Connection
Column 97: Meet the Sisters Who Are State Fair Quilting Queens
Column 96: The connection between fairs and quilts.
Column 95: Her Mother Pieced Quilts
Column 94: Rebecca Barker’s Quiltscapes
Column 93: The Thread and Thimble Club Mystery
Column 92: The Ballerina Quilter
Column 91: Grandmother's Flower Garden Comes Alive at Texas Quilt Museum
Column 90: Leitmotif for a Lifelong Love Affair
Column 89: Quilting in The Bahamas
Column 88: Joan of Arc: A Quilter's Inspiration
Column 87: Home Demonstration Clubs and Quilting
Column 86: Linzi Upton and the Quilted Yurt
Column 85: A Bounty of Quilts
Column 84: Desert Trader
Column 83: Quilts and the Women’s Liberation Movement
Column 82: Replicating the Past: Reproduction Fabrics for Today’s Quilts
Column 81: Why So Many Quilt Shops in Bozeman, Montana?
Column 80: Southeastern Quilt and Textile Museum
Column 79: 54 Tons of Quilt
Column 78: Ollie Steele Burden’s Quilt Blocks
Column 77: Quilting with AMD
Column 76: Maverick Quilts and Cowgirls
Column 75: The Modern Quilt Guild—Cyberculture Quilting Ramps Up
Column 74: The Membership Quilt—Czech Quilting in Texas
Column 73: Maximum Security Quilts
Column 72: Author: Terri Thayer
Column 71: The Christmas Quilt
Column 70: New Mexico Centennial Quilt
Column 69: Scrub Quilts
Column 68: “Think Pink” Quilt Raises Funds for Rare Cancer Research
Column 67: Righting Old Wrongs.
Column 66: 100 Years, 100 Quilts - More on the Arizona Centennial.
Column 65: Arizona Centennial Quilt Project
Column 64: Capt. John Files Tom’s Family Tree
Column 63: The Fat Quarters
Column 62: Quilt Fiction Author: Clare O’Donohue
Column 61: Louisiana Bicentennial Quilt
Column 60: The Camo Quilt Project.
Column 59: Thread Wit
Column 58: Ralli Quilts
Column 57: Preschool Quilters
Column 56: The Story Quilt
Column 55: Red and Green Quilts
Column 54: On the Trail
Column 53: Quilt Trail Gathering
Column 52: True Confessions: First Quilt
Column 51: Quilted Pages
Column 50: Doll Quilts
Column 49: More Than a Quilt Shop
Column 48: Las Colchas of the Texas-Mexico Border
Column 47: Literary Gifts
Column 46: A Different Way of Seeing
Column 45: Sampling
Column 44: Hen and Chicks
Column 43: A Star Studied Event
Column 42: Shoo Fly Pattern
Column 41: Awareness Quilts
Column 40: Tivaevae
Column 39: UnOILed UnspOILed Coast Quilt Project
Column 38: Katrina Recovery Quilts
Column 37: Quilted Vermont
Column 36: The Labyrinth Quilt—A Meditative Endeavor

See other archived columns here