This is a photo heavy post, so get something so you can hydrate as you scroll, I wouldn't want you to need an IV later today!
The week before arriving at Handi Quilter to finish my quilt, they had hosted an "Artist In Residence", who spent the week quilting, I believe, up in the classroom. I'm not sure of this because Handi Quilter keeps a longarm & a Sweet Sixteen loaded and ready in the lobby, just as many keep a grand piano near their foyer, so it's entirely possible the artists who visit can also be found in the lobby. I just didn't inquire, but isn't it a great thought, walking through the doors to find a nationally known quilter working at the longarm, humming along to, perhaps a little, Paganini?
The artist is residence is probably familiar to many of you. Not to me however, and I was stunned, amazed, entertained and touched by her works. We were met the moment we walked into the front doors with the extraordinary, imaginative works of Cathy Wiggins. If only she had still been there to share the quilts with us personally!
Remember visiting the Dentist when you were a kid and looking forward to seeing what was in the Highlights magazine in the lobby took a bit of the sting out the Novocain injection? Well, Cathy must have fond memories of Highlights too!
The show continued upstairs! Then you realize, reading, is very important to this quilt artist and guides many of her inspiring quilts. More than one of her quilts include a "binding" and a bookmark as seen on Magic Rainbow Wings.
As a little girl, I loved books that had beautiful color plates of Faeries, and that was reinforced by the stories that my 11 years older sister would tell me at bedtime.
I stood in front of this quilt and acquainted myself with each and every one of these magical creatures. There are hours upon hours of perfectly placed and spaced beading in this quilt!
And as an adult...as you may already know from posts past, I also love Halloween, which is only spurred on by my October daughter. This quilt was hung perfectly to the right of the Faeries!
Can you hear these Witchy Women cackling?
She paints wonderful imaginative quilts, like this one.
She'd make Jack Sparrow proud with her map making abilities, wouldn't she?
Now, let's shift gears a little...or a lot!
you can see that Cathy Wiggins is an incredibly talented quilt artist...but...she's pulled off something that I never would have considered.
This woman quilts LEATHER!
Talk about multi-faceted, huh? It's hard to believe these are the works of the same person, but they are! This is just another avenue she was inspired to explore.
Clearly she has no self imposed limits or restricted focus!
These dragon masks are beautifully dimensional! I had to resist the temptation to run my hand over the topography of these faces.
so yes...I have a confession...
I have a new love...
his name is Oscar.
Ironically, Oscar's coloring is similar to that of a soft sculpture dragon we had made by a local artist about 30 years ago, after seeing a ginormous version of him that was commissioned by a man, who eventually donated it to the children's section of the library because it was too massive to get into his house! We fell in love and have a much smaller and less detailed version of that friendly colorful dragon who watched over our children from atop our upright piano for many years! I'd snap a picture of him to share, but he's currently in storage.
Dragons just are very special, and sometimes misunderstood I think...
Oscar is completely hand painted on white muslin, including the rich blue background, then quilted & embroidered to accentuate every glorious little detail.
Is this gnarled foot not absolutely magical?
The exception to that is the silvery beige side panel, book binding, with it's "embossed" dragon masks repeated in the quilting...that little chunk of wonderful is LEATHER!!! Of course no book is complete without a red bookmark to keep one's place!
I spent each lunchtime seated so that I could gaze at Oscar, and drink up every moment I had the opportunity to spend with him. I would catch myself wondering if anyone would notice me making space for him in my carry on luggage...alas, it was not meant to be...parting was such sweet sorrow...
Once Upon a Time, we had a living breathing dragon, in the guise of an very intelligent athletic llama. Our Pendragon, (King of the Dragons) who I rushed to see and fell in-love with the day he was born. Five months later he and his Mother, Penne, came home with us. Pendragon packed with our oldest son until a joint deformity made it's presence known. They had already enjoyed many years of 4-H and sanctioned show success in showmanship and obstacle courses together. When our son became the youngest PLTA (Pack Llama Trial Assn) course certifier, it was Pendragon who did the preliminary hike with him to set the course and obstacles the day before the Pack Trials took place. I remember one time they finished the job and came back to the trail head to tell us about the cow elk and calf they had come up behind. Llamas are a great way to see wildlife...they spot them before you do and let you know exactly where they are.
I would look at Pendragon's long lean neck and look into his unusually light brown eyes watching from his black masked face, and envision what the Loch Ness "Monster" might really look like and be like. Beautifully eerie expression and all heart.
We were blessed to have both Pendragon and his 1 year older brother, Penzance enrich our lives for many years. Penzance also inherited those eyes from their beautiful Mama, but the expression was warmer, always smiling, never suspicious, just highly curious. Penzance, who would do anything our Vet Girl asked of him, turned 20 this past March 18th. He left us peacefully, in his sleep over Labor Day weekend, just in the way I predicted he would. Happy and romping like the young athletic boy he was many years ago one day, and gone from us the next.
I tear up, I sniffle, but surprisingly, I don't cry, instead I feel a smile come to my lips.
The memories are too rich, too sweet to cry.
What a lucky girl I have been indeed...