This week I’d like to introduce you to a very talented fiber artist and dear friend. When Sandy Hendricks joined the Milwaukee Art Quilters a number of years ago, she brought with her a portfolio of some of her work, and we were blown away. She’d devised a free motion machine embroidery technique to do portraits in thread of residents in a senior living facility. Sandy was kind enough to allow me to photograph some of these works. Even though I took these pictures rather quickly, and with my phone, I think you will still be amazed at Sandy’s ability to capture the essence of these dear people.
When my Mother-in-law passed away, I asked Sandy if I could hire her to do a thread portrait of Johanna and her response was “you should do it”. I remember that I chuckled and repeated my question. That time she said she would show me how. Well, life got busy and I didn’t bring it up again for over a year.
Sandy and her husband Jon have traveled to both Italy and the Baltic Sea with Wendy and me. Here’s a photo of them with Wendy having breakfast at our villa in Sienna.
While on this last cruise I brought up the subject again. Sandy said she was serious and she’d be happy to teach me how she does her portraits. So, last week I finally took her up on her generous offer!
I brought an 8″ x 10″ photo of my Mother-in-law to Sandy’s home
and we began by tracing some of the details of the picture onto tracing paper. Then she helped me pick out a variety of threads from her substantial collection and encouraged me to do a bit of practicing with the threads to decide which ones would work (after posting this picture I realized that the practice piece on the right looks like some sort of weird modern art).
Sandy does her portraits on a product called Lutradur. It’s a stiff material that seemed to me to be a cross between paper and fabric, that comes in different weights. I did my practicing above on a medium weight sheet.
Next I traced Mom onto the Lutradur – and began stitching in the lines. Sandy’s advice was not to overdo, and my first attempt was a bit heavy handed. At that point I thanked her and headed to Ben Franklin in Oconomowoc for some Lutradur. I went home, began again, and I was fairly happy with the results this time.
I think the piece needs to have some areas shaded in more, but I don’t seem to have the right variety of flesh toned thread – at least thats my excuse!
God has truly blessed Sandy with a wonderful talent and she is very humble about it and so generous to share. Thanks Sandy, for a fun morning!
I’ll leave you with something Jon told me that just might make you smile. He came home while I was stitching and when I asked him where he’d been he said he was having breakfast with the Romeo’s. When I questioned him about it he responded that it stands for “real old men eating out”. Too funny!
One more thing I just need to share :-)!
When we had dinner at the quilt shop near Copenhagen, a Danish quilter named Kirsten, dined at our table with us. Here’s the picture from a previous post (Kirsten is in the center).
During our conversation she told us she was very excited because she was planning on attending the IQA Quilt Show in Rosemont near Chicago this month. This past Thursday Nancy (next to Wendy on the left) sent me this email:
“Hi Ladies, I just had to tell you the neat thing that happened today. I was at Rosemont for the day. I knew that Kirsten from the quilt shop in Denmark was going to be there, so I was watching for her–and I found her! Had a nice chat with her, and then we found Kristi and Pam. Since Pam drove down, they were able to have dinner tonight with Kirsten. Isn’t that great? Just had to share.”
What a delightful continuation to our Sew We Go adventure, but it gets better! Saturday morning Kristi called everyone who had been at that table, to tell us that Kirsten was taking the bus from Chicago to Milwaukee. Kristi was going to pick her up and take her to Patched Works Quilt Shop and out for lunch. She invited us along. None of us was able to make it, but we were able to meet up with them a little later at Kristi’s home for a lovely time of conversation, snacks and eventually – pizza! (all except Lisa, who had to work )
This was a special, and unexpected, treat for us all. Kirsten took the bus back to Chicago that night, and Monday morning she flies to LA to meet up with her 3 daughters. The plan is for them to rent a car, and tour California, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota (I may have missed a few). We wish her safe travels and count ourselves very blessed to have had the chance to get to know this sweet quilter from Denmark, just a little better :-)!