Category Archives: Infinity series

Quilts=Art=Quilts ’17, Part 3

And now for the award winners. I cannot even image how one would choose among this incredible collection of artwork but award jurist Marcia Young was charged with this impossible task. Here are the results…
The Shirley Hastedt Award: Red Jive and Blue Jive by Gerri Spilka…

The Catherine Hastedt Award for Hand Workmanship: Compaction & Drift by Shea Wilkinson… Sorry, I goofed and accidentally posted this one yesterday.

The Schweinfurth Award for Excellence: Tumbling by Naomi Velasquez, side angle detail below…

Juror’s Choice: Frameworks IV by Julia Graziano…

Juror’s Choice: Flying Geese- One Voice by Vicki Conley…

Juror’s Choice: Breakthrough by Elizabeth Busch…

Award for Surface Design: Griffith and Broadway by Marian Zielinski…

Third Prize: Container by Kathy Ford…

Second Prize: Infinity IV by Elena Stokes…oh, that’s me! I’m so honored!!!

So, I’ve been asked to talk about why I split the design into a diptych and its significance. What meaning was I trying to convey? Well, you all know the expression ‘What came first, the chicken or the egg’? Well, if the egg is the idea and the chicken is what grew up out of it, I’m afraid the chicken came first.
When I prepare for my next project, I cut and prep my batting, sort of like prepping a canvas for paint. I cut it to size, iron on a fusible to both sides, fuse fabric to the back, then pin it to my design wall. I had prepped a 72 inch wide piece of batting in contemplation of my next project when a challenge came up in my guild. I only participate in challenges like that if they can work into my body of work and this one did. It was a proposed exhibition in partnership with the Nurture Nature Center in Easton, Pa whose focus that year was Weather. That theme worked well with my body of work and I decided to build upon my Infinity series incorporating a feeling of Wind. The only catch was it could be no wider than 60 inches. So, I decided to cut 12 inches off my prepped batting. I figured it could be cut up into 12 inch squares for small work.
As I worked on the design, the tapering waves were very effective and beautiful but I realized the main swath of color seemed off because it came to a blunt end at the edge of the quilt. I felt like it needed to continue to a point. Then I looked at the discarded 12 inch section and thought ‘Why not? Try it. It’ll either look really stupid or really cool.’ Well, as you can see, it looks pretty cool. It’s an odd place for split but somehow it works visually and, as someone said at the QAQ reception, it looks mysterious.
Lots of layered meaning emerged as well – the sweeping horizon line signifying the unending process of transformation; the winds of change that shape our lives; seeds blowing to far-off fertile lands. I have a subtitle for it, Like Seeds to the Wind, but mostly it’s about my Infinity series.
And, that’s the story of how the chicken came first and the egg of ideas and meaning came afterwards.
First Prize: People of the Wind by Shin-hee Chin, detail of intense stitchwork below…

Best of Show: Ruins 1 by Leah Higgins…

Funny story here, above is Ruins 1 as it was displayed at the Schweinfurth opening reception. But, I saw that artist Leah Higgins’ post on Facebook announcing her Best of Show award and the picture she posted displayed it inverted, as I clumsily did below. The funny thing is, during the weekend I was in conversation with a fellow artist who said her work had been hung upside down. It seems the bottom sleeve intended for a secondary slat to weight the bottom was mistook for the top hanging sleeve. They didn’t notice the label at the bottom right to guide them as to what was top and bottom. Well, it seems that’s what must have happened here, I’m guessing. It’s a lesson for us all – be careful of those bottom sleeves, they might get your work hung upside down! Always supply instructions as to the top of quilt if you use a bottom sleeve.

By the way, I did let Leah know about the inversion of her work and she contacted the Schweinfurth Art Center.
I hope you enjoyed seeing my pictures of the show but they really don’t do justice to the work. If you can get there, go see them in person!


Also posted in Exhibitions

Quilts=Art=Quilts ’17 – Part 1

This past weekend I went to the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY for the first time for the opening reception of Quilts=Art=Quilts. It was the first time my work was accepted into this prestigious exhibit and I was eager to see it. Out of 300 entries, 75 works by 65 artists were accepted and these are some exceptionally talented artists. So, I was deeply honored.
In this post, I will share some pictures of the overall exhibit so you can get a feel of the scope and scale of the venue. It’s a lovely venue, too, large and spacious. Donna Lamb and her staff did a beautiful job hanging the show.

I hope these give you a feeling of being there, especially if you aren’t able to go to the exhibit. But, I highly recommend going if you can. The exhibit runs through January 7, 2018.
I apologize for not giving attribution to the artists, there’s just too many in this post (though if you ask me in the comments about a particular piece, I would be happy to provide info). Later this week, I will post more pictures, individual shots and some detail shots with attribution. And, for the finale, I will post the award winners! So, stay tuned…



Also posted in Exhibitions

Well, that’s THAT!

Last weekend was The Hunterdon Art Tour, otherwise known as THAT, the first county-wide artist tour of Hunterdon County, NJ. It’s almost a week later now and I’m still exhausted, but in a good way.
The weekend kicked off with a celebration benefit party and exhibit hosted by the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, NJ. I was having such a good time I forgot to take pictures but I can tell you it was a huge success attended by almost 200 art lovers. The exhibit comprised one piece of artwork by all the artists, roughly 40 artists, on the tour and all for sale with a 50/50 split going to the artist and funding for next year’s THAT. Nine pieces sold! My piece Horizon IX wasn’t among them and is still available. hint, hint

Some artists opened their studios to the tour while others like myself (with a big slobbery dog) found local businesses to play host. My good friend Dr. Nancy Erb, holistic therapist and owner of Wellness Rocks! and the Awaken Health Center in Clinton, welcomed me and fellow artist, photographer Berendina Buist.

One of the center’s practitioners, Karen Schweiger, was there all weekend offering free hugs. And, what hugs they were! She’s a certified cuddle therapist. I had never heard of a cuddle therapist but I can tell you, she’s good. Everyone needs a hug. Have you had your hug today?
The center was a great space to display artwork, big rooms with lots of wall space for big art…

and small art…

And even smaller art…
Or long art…
Not to mention, wearable art…

This was an amazing start to our annual artist tour here in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. I must give a huge thank you to the organizers of the tour who worked so hard for over a year to pull this together, three cheers to Val Sivilli, Catherine Suttle, Kathleen Thompson and Jay Raymond. Hip-hip-hooray! Hip-hip-hooray! Hip-hip-hooray!

Also posted in Exhibitions, New Work

A Very Warm Reception


This past weekend I spent a lovely time with friends and fellow artists at the opening reception of Connected by Stitch at the Gallery at Penn College in Williamsport, PA. This is the first exhibit mounted by the SAQA Pennsylvania region and what a beautiful exhibit it is in both the caliber of artwork and the spacious venue. Two pieces from my Infinity series are in the show.







Many thanks to Meredith Armstrong, our SAQA PA regional rep and curator, and Penny Lutz, director of the gallery, for the long hours they put in to mount this exhibit, and to New Mexico mixed media artist Joshua Willis who was the juror. This is a very special exhibit not to be missed.

Also posted in Exhibitions, SAQA

Quilt National ’15

The party’s over. My first Quilt National has come and gone and I’m exhausted – still. But, now I can share with you Infinity, the first in my series of abstracted horizons made entirely of re-purposed silk saris from India and Nepal.

Elena Stokes - Infinity

Infinity by Elena Stokes, 43 x 67 inches


Quilt National, held at the Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens, Ohio, is one of the most prestigious quilt art venues in the world.  From the Quilt National ’15 webpage, these are the statistics for this year’s exhibition: “There were 689 quilts submitted by 378 artists from 44 states and 19 countries including 3 Canadian provinces. Jurors Rosalie Dace, Ann Johnston and Judy Schwender selected 84 quilts by 84 artists. The exhibitors represented 33 states and 8 foreign countries. In this exhibition 30 percent of the exhibitors are first time Quilt National artists.” The jurors did an outstanding job and it is truly an honor to included among so many notable and talented artists in an exhibition of such high caliber.

I have arrived at the Dairy Barn! ~ photo by Betty Busby

Looking back, the weekend is now a blur of happy faces, stunning quilt art, long days and late nights. I have met lovely people and made many friends with artists whose work I have admired for years. It was a wonderful experience I will always treasure. Many thanks to all the hard working, dedicated staff members of the Dairy Barn, especially Dairy Barn Executive Director Jane Forrest Redfern and Quilt National Director Kathleen Dawson who really rolled out the ‘red carpet’ for us.


Also posted in New Work Tagged |

The Big Reveal…almost

This weekend is the long awaited (by me!) opening of Quilt National, when I can finally reveal Infinity…but not yet. I have also been reluctant to reveal some of the other pieces in the series that were a bit too similar which I will reveal now…

My Infinity series takes my work in a new direction into abstraction and minimalism. I haven’t completely abandoned landscapes though, instead I focus on a single aspect of the vista, the horizon line stretching into infinity. To me it represents the point of transition, transformation and transcendence, the line where the past meets the future of infinite possibilities.

Elena Stokes - Infinity IIAbove, Infinity II was made for my doctor as a way of saying thank you for taking such good care of me during my surgery last fall. Yes, I know, it does look a bit like a scar, but a pretty scar, which was my intention. This piece is about 36 x 25 inches and made with the same reclaimed sari silks and technique as Infinity. Infinity III I already posted in the previous post, Infinity and Beyond, as it is quite different in color and design.



Elena Stokes - Infinity IVInfinity IV, 60 x 43 inches, is currently in the Nurture Nature Center’s ‘Weather’ exhibition in Easton, PA and runs until May 30th. Wind was my weather inspiration and it is actually a diptych but the size restriction of the exhibit was 60 inches so there will be more revealing to come for this one.



Elena Stokes - Infinity VInfinity V, 40 x 26 inches, is the latest piece in the series but I have lots of plans to do more so stay tuned…

And, now I must go finish getting ready for my trip to Athens, OH and my first visit to Quilt National! I promise to post pictures of Infinity and the opening reception on facebook.


Also posted in New Work

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