June 13, 2014

Stolen Too! To Stop a Thief

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimhanson @ 7:59 pm

Good day everyone. Here is Part two of my Stolen Quilts article, as featured in the February/March 2014 edition of Quilter Magazine .

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An art quilt is a themed, one-of-a-kind creative expression in fabric. The very fact that an art quilt is distinctive and individualistic in nature, can spawn an enticing target for a quilt thief. When a quilter’s work is stolen, their world stops turning. Panic, anxiety, and heartbreak can stop them in their tracks. It is one thing to be victimized by a stranger who does not necessarily know what they are stealing – like in a smash and grab robbery or when a delivery shipment goes awry – but something quite different when the thief knows exactly what they are stealing. Exquisite, stunning “show” quilts, stolen during exhibitions are targeted for theft; and the thief could very likely be a fellow quilter, a notion so repugnant as to be beyond belief. Let’s face it, to most of us, hearing the words “quilter” and “thief” used together is true paradox.

Trust is implied when an artist displays their artwork in public. Show exhibitors must be relied on to protect a quilter’s life work as well as their own integrity. Despite best intentions, however, some creative quilters have been victimized while showcasing their work in public. Imagine the feelings of violation and despair when a quilter’s fibre art renderings – beautiful art quilts – find their way out of an exhibition hall in the hands of a thief.

Anne Morrell Robinson of Kingross Quilts & Fibre Arts

Set in the breathtakingly beautiful hills of the Margaree Valley in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is Anne Robinson’s charming quilt studio.

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Peace and quiet and inspiration surround Anne while she works creating lovely, themed show pieces like her appliqué quilt, Birds of Color.

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In 2002, Anne chose to enter her art quilt into the New York State Fair, a hustling, bustling Fair catering to thousands of visitors; a world apart from Cape Breton.

Displayed behind a 3′ picket fence, Fair organizers hung large quilts like Birds of Color (108″x108″) from ceiling rods, for all visitors to see but not touch. As the Fair was about to be closed for the evening, unbelievably, a thief managed to not only get behind the fence, but to also remove Anne’s quilt from the rod and escape without detection. Seemingly, an unbelievable feat in a public forum! Security officers noticed the missing fibre art as they were locking doors for the evening.

Anne invested two years in making Birds of Color come to life, a heart and soul project that disappeared in the blink of an eye. While local area radio and TV stations conducted some post-theft interviews with Anne, the publicity was to no avail; her quilt is still missing. State Fair organizers, while sympathetic to Anne’s plight, were not liable for the theft and therefore did not compensate her for her loss. Birds of Color was appraised for thousands of dollars, but due to a glitch in Anne’s insurance coverage, she was unable to collect on her policy. In true quilter’s “bounce back” style, however, Anne has just recently remade her quilt using a similar theme… she calls the new piece Colorful Birds of the World. It is truly magnificient.

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John Sauls, Antique Quilts Dealer (johnsauls@tyler.net)

John Sauls is a veteran antiques dealer with a special fondness of vintage quilts. A present day Texan, he exhibits his quilts around the United States at major shows and festivals. It was at the Houston Quilt Festival (a public exhibition) in 2010 that John’s antique compass quilt

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was brazenly stolen from his exhibition booth. At a particularly busy time, two women approached John’s booth simultaneously….he responded to one of the women; his employee responded to the other. John’s customer asked him a few inane questions and then both women left the booth individually. John then went to check on a specific quilt for another customer, and it became immediately apparent to him that the antique compass quilt, the most expensive in the hanging group, was missing.

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In hindsight, he is certain that the two women served as a distraction while a third person removed the antique quilt from its hanger in his booth.

Despite his attendance at many major shows, John is quick to point out that this type of theft has never happened to him in the past. He praises the organizers of the Houston Quilt Festival and blames himself for constructing what he refers to as a “blind spot” in his booth. John says, “Quilt Festival is without a doubt one of the most professional, top notch quilt organizations in the Country”.

Nancy O’Bryant Puentes is Executive Vice-President of Quilts, Inc., the producer of Houston Quilt Festival. Nancy warrants that, despite accommodating 60,000 visitors each year, Quilt Festival sustains only a miniscule amount of loss due to theft. Her 24-hour security staff consist of current or former police officers and they are visible throughout the exhibition; installed both inside and outside the building, at each entrance and at loading docks. Plain clothes officers circulate undetected throughout the crowd; an omnipresent deterrent to theft.

Beverly Fawcett (beverly_fawcett@yahoo.com)

Like so many exhibitors, Bev Fawcett never contemplated quilt theft. That is until 2012, when her Beatle’s-inspired, whimsical art quilt went missing from the Lakewood Quilt Show.

When My Mind Goes Wandering

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was likely stolen during the first few hours of the exhibition, when someone unpinned and removed the small gem (25”x23”) from a curtain backdrop. Now, Bev admits she is “a teensy bit apprehensive about showing any quilt in public” and asks more security-related questions of show organizers.

Similar to Anne Robinson’s experience, there was interest in Bev’s stolen quilt from local TV stations and newspapers. As is typical, a police report was filed, posters of the quilt were dispersed in the neighborhood, and ebay was scoured by family members. But, Bev also took action in a way that was not typical. At subsequent exhibitions, (believe it or not!) she wore a photo of her stolen art quilt around her neck! Feeling the pain of Bev’s loss, fellow quilters wrapped her in layers of sympathy, but unfortunately, no quilt sighting.

Eric J. Woehr, an investigator with the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office in New York State, has delved into art quilt theft in the past. When asked his opinion of the markets available to a quilt thief, he says, “the only avenues I’m aware of …..would be flea markets, art shows or the internet.” As part of his after-theft investigation protocol, Eric sends out a photo and press release of the stolen quilt to local media outlets and also accesses the services offered by Artloss.com, the World’s largest database of stolen art and LeadsOnline.com, a website dedicated to recovering stolen property.

Quilters: perform your due diligence before showcasing your work in public. Query exhibit organizers on their security procedures and read, read, and read again, the show’s application forms and rules and regulations. Ensure there will be a direct sight line to your quilt; obscured vision is a thief’s delight! Pay particular attention to your intuition. If a show’s visitor demonstrates peculiar behaviour towards you or your work, take heed. Heighten your antennae rather than reigning them in. Your work is your work….it is beautiful and valuable and belongs to you. Take every step possible to ensure a thief doesn’t walk away with a piece of your life.

Everyone – please keep an eye out for the stolen quilts!

Till later…

Kim

May 31, 2014

Dreaming of a Quilting Space….

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimhanson @ 5:03 pm

For about as long as I can remember, I have had the same recurring dream. To be concise, it’s actually more like a snippet of a dream. In my mind’s eye, there is a tiny cottage tucked away in what appears to be someone else’s spacious backyard. The land is grassy, surrounded by brush and some very tall trees.

When I walk through the door of the cottage, there are gauzy curtains blowing in the slight breeze. The sun’s light is diffused as it streams through the small windows. The floor is wooden and looks very old and worn, but beautiful at the same time. The back wall of the tiny space is lined with white wooden bookcases overflowing with craft books. There are several tables; one holds a sewing machine, one is a desk with an odd, antiquated fax machine and the other is a drafting table – the perfect height for standing and cutting fabric.

In my dream, I’m never in the space for very long – just for a moment or two and then I wake up. Exploring the cottage at length is merely left to my feelings and my imagination.

I believe the sweet little cottage represents my dream sewing studio. I feel at peace when I’m inside the tiny space….and I experience such an overwhelming feeling of the potential for creativity.

For the time being, I’m content sewing and writing in my basement studio at home. It’s warm, cozy and fully equipped with everything that I need. I’m extremely grateful for my work space. But, I admit that I eagerly await the day that I find my dream studio – a place that will be entirely my own and dedicated to quilting and sewing and writing and creating. It will be so very lovely; a dream come true.

Till later…..Kim

March 31, 2014

Generation Q

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimhanson @ 3:40 pm

Good Monday morning to you. Here in Calgary it’s the usual, snowy, wintery weather. There are virtually NO signs of Spring – and I mean none!

This past weekend, I was overyjoyed to travel to Invermere, B.C. – a three hour drive from our home. As we travelled, it was apparent that the temperature was rising as we drove. Woo hoo! It was so lovely and warm and Spring-like in Invermere this weekend – people were actually on the golf course and walking around in shirt sleeves. 7 degrees Celsius is pretty nice when you are used to a miserable and nasty -10, without the wind chill.

On Saturday, I walked and visited my favourite shops. The town was deserted and quiet and so very nice. I went into a bookstore that I usually visit when in town – Dave’s Book Bar - and browsed to my heart’s content. Of particular interest is all the quilting magazines the shop stocks. Much to my surprise, I came across the most recent issue of Generation Q magazine!

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How delightful! I can’t find this quilting magazine in big-City Calgary at Chapters or Indigo, but I find it in a small and out-of-the-way place in a very small town. I read it from cover to cover and loved it.

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of working with Melissa Maher of Quilter’s Home magazine, who together with Jake Finch started Generation Q magazine. Melissa and Jake have worked very hard at their new project and it shows in their work.

If you can find a copy, pick it up!

Till later…take care
Kim

March 18, 2014

PROFILE OF A QUILT THIEF

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimhanson @ 2:42 pm

Speculating on the profile of a quilt thief is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. Fleshing out human traits and characteristics can prove fruitless – after all, who would steal a quilt? It seems so unlikely as to be unfathomable. The facts are, however, some quilters and fibre artists have suffered devastating losses at the hands of elusive, faceless, and nameless quilt thieves, who often peddle their stolen wares for a mere fraction of their intrinsic value.

A few quilters have had their life’s work taken from them in the blink of an eye; their future path and livelihood altered in an instant. Karen Combs and Meryl Ann Butler are two such women who have faced tremendous adversity and have “chosen” to bounce back with an amazing spirit and resiliency.

Karen Combs is a travelling quilt teacher who had her quilts stolen from the trunk of her parked and locked car in March of 2012. Karen was staying at a reputable hotel in New Braunsfel, Texas when her vehicle was vandalized sometime during the night before she was scheduled to teach her class. According to police, thieves smashed the windows of her car, popped the trunk and took everything that was in her vehicle including a suitcase containing her quilts and class supplies. The theft was random in nature, and although several suspects were charged, Karen has not recovered any of her prized and treasured work.

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Karen’s educated opinion is that the “smash and grab” thieves may have tried to pawn her quilts, hawk them to flea market vendors or merely tossed them in the landfill! A heartbreaking notion and inconceivable violation.

The most remarkable part of Karen’s story is her unfaltering resilience. Not only did she teach her class later that very morning she discovered the theft, but she re-made all the quilts for her Patchwork Illusions class within the next several weeks! Working night and day mind you, but she did it. Karen says, “While sewing, I resisted the temptation to become so angry and so sad that I could not focus on my work. The way I looked at it, I had two choices – fall apart and let the theft destroy me or move forward and remake the quilts”.

Meryl Ann Butler is a creative force. She is a teacher, quilter, fibre artist and author (90-Minute Quilts and More 90-Minute Quilts) whose joyful outpouring is an inspiration to her many students. On August 8, 2001, Meryl Ann suffered a car prowling and theft while she was attending classes at the Art Academy of Los Angeles in Sherman Oaks, California. Like Karen Combs, thieves broke into Meryl Ann’s parked vehicle and removed suitcases containing almost all of her textile and quilting projects – basically her life’s work.

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A “show and tell” with classmates had prompted Meryl Ann to pack and transport her treasured work to class that day. She purposefully parked her car in the secluded, shady portion of the parking lot. Once class was concluded, she placed her quilts and wearable art back into the trunk of her car. The theft occurred later that same afternoon while she was running an errand with a friend. She feels it’s entirely possible that she was targeted for the theft; she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was being watched. Meryl Ann disregarded her intuition as silly. What a shame! Despite a police report, thorough searches of surrounding dumpsters, and posting signs of the theft, none of Meryl Ann’s fibre art has been recovered…….yet. In keeping with her indomitable spirit and taking into account the unique quality of her work, Meryl Ann remains optimistic that some day her pieces may be recovered.

While Karen Combs and Meryl Ann Butler were victims of car prowlers and thieves, Sally Schneider and Denise Hamilton were victimized in an entirely different manner. Sally Schneider loves creating scrap quilts. She is a designer and author of many quilt-related books, including Scrap Quilts Fit for a Queen. In the making of that publication, Sally shipped three of her quilt projects via FedEx ground from her home in Albuquerque, New Mexico to her publisher in Washington State. Disturbingly, only two of her three quilts made the entire journey! Farmer’s Daughter was removed from the shipping bin prior to its ultimate arrival in Washington. “Sally Schneider Quilts” was listed as the return address on the shipping documents, unwittingly alerting thieves to the bins’ contents. Although Sally has re-made Farmer’s Daughter, she placates herself for the loss of her work by contemplating the sweet notion that her quilt was stolen by a single mother who desperately needed to keep her children warm on chilly evenings.

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In May of 2013 in Tampa, Florida, FedEx delivered a package to Denise’s front door. The package contained a quilt pieced together by Denise Hamilton and quilted by a friend that lived in Arkansas. The longarm quilter was returning Denise’s work to her via ground delivery. Unfortunately, the FedEx delivery person left the package at Denise’s front door when no one was at home. All Denise found was the remnants of her delivery in the form of a FedEx door tag verifying that her quilt had indeed been delivered. Denise offered a small reward, reported the theft to both FedEx and to the police and posted signs all around her neighborhood. She has not recovered her quilt.

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Countless renditions circulate on how few dollars a thief will actually realize by selling a stolen quilt. Handmade, craftily pieced, amazingly beautiful quilts have been stolen by thieves and sold to unsuspecting vendors for the staggering low, low price of $50.00 or less!

Maria Elkins is the creator of the website, www.lostquilt.com. In her role as Webmaster, she has heard and recorded countless stories of stolen quilts, and has played a huge role in bringing some quilts home to their rightful owners. Despite her expertise and experiences, even she struggles to define the motivations behind quilt theft.

Sadly, there are no sure-fire ways to prevent a theft from happening. Be open to the possibility that your work could be stolen, and that “yes, it could happen to you!” Some precautions worth considering:

· Write on the back of your quilt with a sharpie over part of the hand or machine quilting. This is an infinitely better method of signing your work than is affixing a label…a label can be snipped off with ease.

· When shipping or receiving a quilt, refrain from using the word “quilt” on the shipping documentation. Instead, use innocuous terms like “textile”, “yard good” or perhaps “wall hanging”.

· Be sure someone is home when a quilt is due to be delivered. Request FedEx or UPS not to leave the package without first receiving a signature. Don’t leave your precious quilt at the front door of an unoccupied residence –it may just find itself a brand new home!

· Pay attention to your intuition; it may be your greatest protection.

· When storing your quilts in the car, park your vehicle in a very well-lit, well-populated sector of a parking lot and limit the time period your quilts are left unattended in the vehicle.

(Stay tuned for Part Two of Stolen)

If you or anyone you know have had your work stolen, please leave me a comment on my blog. Thanks everyone.
Till later….Kim

February 7, 2014

Wedding in the Canadian Rockies

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimhanson @ 3:50 pm

Last weekend, we had the privilege of attending an extraordinary wedding in Banff, Alberta. The wedding was held entirely at the spectacular Banff Springs Hotel….a true winter wonderland. This was the view from our lovely, renovated hotel room.

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What a treat it was to spend two nights in the splendour that is Banff! Although the temperature was super cold, we were able to be outside and walk awhile. It was exhilarating to navigate the icy path leading back to the hotel; sheltered by the tall evergreens from the bone-chilling winds. The walk was a highlight of our weekend away from Calgary.

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The wedding itself was like a tiny slice of perfection – everyone looked so beautiful and peaceful and relaxed in the resplendent surroundings. I’m thinking I cannot wait to go back there!

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Till later….

Kim

January 28, 2014

Animal Sunshine – Decorating with Quilts

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimhanson @ 5:48 pm

A special welcome to all our new subscribers. Thanks ever so much for taking the time to register on our site.

AnimalSunshine (800x559)Good day everyone.

Sometimes, the best part of having quilts in our homes is decorating with them. It’s so much fun; quilts bring life and breath to an otherwise unadorned corner. Flannels and children’s fabrics have always been my favorite medium in which to work.

To change the look of a quilt, roll it up, tie it up and secure some ribbon.

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Rag quilts are so fabulous….just add a little machine embroidery and you will love the results.

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Till later…..Kim

January 16, 2014

Day 4 of Quilter’s Newsletter – Best Modern Quilts Blog Tour

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimhanson @ 12:59 am

Good day from the Great White North! My City of Calgary, Alberta, Canada has been experiencing record snowfalls of late – just a crazy amount of snow.

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Snow is soft and twinkles and covers all things in a blanket of freshness. It is beautiful….and makes for an excellent reason to remain indoors and sew, embroider and quilt!

I love working with Quilter’s Newsletter…this is the second time I’ve participated in a blog tour. My pillow – Fans & Flowers is featured on page 74 of Best Modern Quilts, and as always, has been beautifully photographed by the magazine. My favorite part of the pillow is definitely the square fans.

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Thank you so much for stopping by on the blog tour. I’d love to hear where you live. Leave me a comment and maybe even a photo of your City. I would love to read all the comments and I will answer each and every one of them. Leaving me a comment also means you have an opportunity to win a great prize from Quilter’s Newsletter Best Modern Quilts magazine.

Till later…take good care of yourself.

Kim

December 24, 2013

Merry Mary Christmas!

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimhanson @ 3:49 pm

Good day to you all. I hope you’re having a lovely Christmas Eve.

As many of you know, I have been searching for a vintage Mary Engelbreit pattern, called Playtime Pals for more years than I can remember. After my last post, I did a search on ebay (as I have done countless times in the past) for the elusive pattern. A match to my search was made instantly, and voila I now have an early Christmas present!

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I couldn’t believe it….32 years old and the pattern is in remarkable condition. Work on it will commence as soon as time allows.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. Take good care of yourself.

Till later…
Kim

December 5, 2013

Mary Engelbreit

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimhanson @ 4:14 pm

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If I could spend a day with a quilter, hands down it would be Mary Engelbreit. The woman’s work is delightful; she is creative beyond description and her talent is off-the-charts.

My first exposure to Mary Engelbreit’s work was in 1982 when I came across her charming and whimsical quilt pattern called “Playtime Pals” featured in Better Homes & Gardens Creative Ideas Christmas magazine. I ordered the pattern immediately via Canada Post and couldn’t wait till it arrived! The pattern was an iron-on outline of sweet & cheery children in vintage outfits. One needed to complete the outlines using fabric paints… basically colouring for adults. I ironed all the pattern outlines onto muslin fabric in different sizes, purchased an array of fabric paints and set to work, painting for days on end. (I had never used fabric paints in the past, so there was a bit of learning curve and some less-than-perfect blocks!) I loved every single minute of working on that quilt.

Playtime Pals became my baby daughter’s first and favourite bedtime treasure. She virtually loved that quilt to its demise as it became tattered and torn throughout the decades of her life.

I have tried, in vain, to find that pattern again so I could make Playtime Pals for my sweet baby granddaughter, Harlow. I’ve contacted Mary Engelbreit’s “people”, the magazine that first published the pattern, and checked for it on ebay countless times. No luck.

Maybe one day, I’ll come across that fabulous pattern again – still in it’s plastic and wrapping from 31 years ago. Or maybe someday, I will meet Mary Engelbreit in person and she will dig this pattern out of her archives – just for me! Fingers crossed!

Till later…..Kim

September 29, 2013

The Pen and Paper Type

Filed under: Uncategorized — kimhanson @ 6:16 pm

It’s a rainy, blustery and dreary day here in downtown Edmonton. If I wasn’t in such a good mood, it may be a bit depressing!

Quilter’s Newsletter is a very popular, American-based quilting magazine. They solicit 300 word manuscripts for each of their issues on varying topics. My essay on Quilts & Technology was chosen and published in the October/November 2013 issue. I`ve not worked with Quilter`s Newsletter magazine before; so publication of my essay was unexpected and such a lovely surprise.

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From page 23 of Quilter`s Newsletter magazine:

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Pinterest has changed our world, to be sure. I`d even say it may have changed our world for the better.

Till later….
Kim

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