Category Archives: SAQA

Season After Season

Season After Season is a SAQA traveling exhibit currently enjoying its premiere exhibition at the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange, Texas.
Last September I was notified by Dr. Sandra Sider that I was one of the twelve artists she selected to be featured in her PowerPoint lecture on Season After Season. It was presented last month at the Texas Quilt Museum but I was not able to be there in person. Fortunately, it was recorded and I’m able to share with it with you. Dr. Sider narrates a fascinating lecture video giving great insights to my fellow artists’ inspiration, creative process, including many of their trials and tribulations and how they successfully resolved design issues with beautiful results. I really learned a lot and I’m very grateful to have been one of the selected artists. Please watch the Season After Season video lecture and share your thoughts with me!
Dr. Sider is a curator at the Texas Quilt Museum, editor of SAQA’s Art Quilt Quarterly magazine and a former SAQA Board President. Lecture courtesy of Texas Quilt Museum.
Also posted in Exhibitions

2018 SAQA Benefit Auction

SAQA is once again preparing for its annual Benefit Auction! 443 12 x 12 inch mini masterpieces will be available for bidding. This REVERSE auction (bidding starts high then drops through the week) is in three groups for three weeks. Group 1 starts on September 14, Group 3 ends on October 7. I don’t have a piece up for auction this year but I plan to bid and help support this wonderful organization.
Never heard of SAQA? Studio Art Quilt Associates. Don’t know what they do? From their website –
“SAQA is a world-wide resource for information on the art quilt and the artists who create them. In addition to mounting museum-quality exhibitions that travel the world, SAQA documents the artquilt movement through exhibition catalogs and the continuing series of Portfolios, the art quilt sourcebook.
SAQA creates professional development opportunities for the membership that continue to address the ever-changing needs of the artist. From basic studio management to mastering current technology for both business and artistic purposes, SAQA members have access to a treasure trove of support for taking their artwork and career to the next level.
Over the past 30 years, SAQA has evolved into an active and dynamic organization that offers many services to our members as well as to the community at large. Our website provides visibility to the accomplishments of the artist members and gives members immediate access to information about exhibition opportunities, announcements of upcoming events and conferences, and other resources.”
To see all the available artwork and to learn how the auction works, visit or click on the image above.

The Urchins

Dear SAQA, Quilt Art and Fiber Art friends and colleagues, please help!
Have you heard about the amazing fiber art effort happening at the Hunterdon Art Museum, a small but very fiber friendly art museum in Clinton, NJ? In the past, they have mounted major fiber art shows such a contemporary tapestry exhibit, a fiber print exhibit and last year they had a stunning contemporary embroidery exhibit.
This September, HAM will present a contemporary lace exhibit, Lace not Lace, that will feature the work of many international artists including two large installations, Lieve Jerger’s Carriage of Lost Loves and Choi + Shine’s The Urchins. BUT, The Urchins is not a definite go. The museum wasn’t able to raise enough money to bring them to New Jersey and are seeking help from the community by launching a fund-raising campaign on Kickstarter. Click HERE or on the image above to go to their Kickstarter page and be sure and watch the video. They go into quite a bit of detail of the upcoming exhibit and their efforts and excitement over the Urchins, which are a quite impressive and huge, and would be a phenomenal outdoor installation –  The Urchins would only be there for a limited time but it would be a spectacular sight to behold!
Naturally, I always try to support this museum as it is in my own backyard but I am hoping my fellow quilt artists and fiber artists will join me in supporting the museum’s goal of bringing The Urchins to the Hunterdon Art Museum. While they have never mounted a quilt art exhibit at HAM, it is my hope that someday they will, whether it’s a SAQA Global exhibit, a SAQA regional exhibit or a straight out contemporary Quilt Art exhibit. If we in the quilt art/fiber art community show our support for them, maybe they will show their support for us.
Please help spread the word and donate what you can to this fund-raiser. Be sure to email them and let them know the Quilt Art community supports them!
Also posted in Exhibitions

2017 SAQA Benefit Auction

Benefit Auction starts Sept 15th!

As a member of the Studio Art Quilt Associates, I’m happy to support their annual and ever popular Benefit Auction fundraiser which begins on September 15 and goes until October 8. Once again, I’m proud to be able to give back to this organization that has given so much support to artists like me and continues to work hard to promote quilt art. 368 members donated a small piece of art, 12 x 12 inches, which will be auctioned off in a reverse auction – bids start high and then drop each day. This year, I’ve donated a piece from my Horizon series again.
To find out more about how the auction works, visit click here. Check out each group to see the wonderful array of artworks available. My piece is in the third group which starts bidding on October 2. Don’t miss the Dream Collections curated by member artists. It’s a fun way to see the artwork through the lens of fantasy collections.


Abstract and Geometric


Abstract and Geometric, another stunning book in Martha Sielman’s series on quilt art, has just been released this month and I am extremely fortunate to be among the artists selected for inclusion. As she explains in her introduction, Martha received over 1300 images in answer to her call for entry from 461 artists, the best of the best in the field. Profiles of 29 major artists and three galleries featuring 97 more fill this full-color feast for the eyes. I found many of my favorite artists as well as some whose work was new and very inspiring to me. Even if I weren’t in it, I would have to own this book! Yum.

Abstract and Geometric is available at

Also posted in Published

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, Infinity series

Welcome Back

After a long break from social media and even my own blog, I’m back. With lots of news.

Just over five years ago, I joined SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) and answered a call for entry for an exhibition called Seasonal Palette and exactly five years ago this week that I found out I was one of the lucky thirty-seven artists to be included. We were charged with creating a 32 x 78 inch long art quilt inspired by one of the seasons, mine was spring and that is how I came to make Tranquil Marsh – Wild Iris. And now, five years later, it’s back.

It went on a long sojourn around the globe, from Houston, Texas to Tainan City, Taiwan. The last time I saw it was four years ago during the Seasonal Palette premiere at the International Quilt Festival in Houston but after that, I wish I could have been rolled up with it and gone along for the ride. Here are a just few pictures of the many ports of call over the years.

quilt art, IQF, Elena Stokes

At the Houston Premiere

Elena Stokes, quilt art

IQF, Houston, TX

Gerald R Ford Museum, Grand Rapids, MI

Elena Stokes, quilt art

Texas Quilt Museum, La Grange, TX

Elena Stokes, quilt art

National Quilt Museum, Padukah, KY

Elena Stokes, quilt art

Tainan, City , Taiwan

Elena Stokes, quilt art

Gerald R Ford Museum, Grand Rapids, MI

And, so it’s back! And, I am, too.

Also posted in Exhibitions

The Art of Layering

I took another pass at my Pears painting in class last Friday by adding more layers to the under-painting.

Working with acrylics is such a different experience than working with textiles. Acrylics dry fast! Rendering them unworkable. The first day of class, our instructor Maureen had supplied us with an acrylic retarder which, when poured on top of and blended into acrylic paint, keeps it from drying out so fast and prolongs its working time. We were on our own for the second class and I thought I had purchased the correct product, a blending medium with the word retardateur in the French translation, but it wasn’t the same at all. So, I was at a disadvantage struggling to keep ahead of the drying paint and mixed the colors as best I could. Despite it all I’m happy with the results…

 Pears under-painting

Pears under-painting

I enjoyed mixing my own colors and layering them to achieve color, shape and texture. It was very interesting. And challenging.

Pears, day 2

Pears, day 2

One of my reasons for embarking on this painting journey is to stretch my abilities in how I work with textiles in my artwork. I’m already accustomed to using textiles as a painter uses paint but instead of blobs of paint, I use bits of fabric to recreate my imagery. But, in past work I’ve used an orderly structure of horizontal strips which is wonderful in creating depth as with my impressionistic landscapes like Tranquil Marsh – Wild Iris. It’s a difficult and meticulous process that, if so desired, can help one develop a galloping case of OCD.

Tranquil Marsh - Wild Iris detail

Tranquil Marsh – Wild Iris detail

Which is why I turned to abstract work as with my Infinity series. It’s still meticulous work but not as exacting. I can improvise more with the color, shapes and lines until it feels right.

Infinity IV detail

Infinity IV detail

So, after my first painting class, I tried a small landscape, 6 x 8 inches, with a looser, semi-abstract feel. I tried layering smaller pieces of fabric in a less structured way, a more painterly way. This piece is Horizon II, the second in a new series which lies somewhere in between my impressionistic landscapes and my Infinity abstracts. I made this one to donate to the upcoming SAQA Spotlight auction during the 2016 SAQA Conference in Philadelphia, PA on April 1st.

Horizon II

Horizon II

I’m liking this direction and want to take it even farther.

How about you? In what ways do you find yourself pushing and stretching yourself and your art?

Also posted in New Work, The Learning Curve

SAQA Celebrating Silver Artist Talk

Here’s a video of me talking about my piece Moonshine in SAQA’s Celebrating Silver exhibit at the 2014 Houston Quilt Festival. At the time, I had no idea I was being recorded or that it was posted on You Tube. Surprise! And, a delightful surprise it was. I wish my talk had not been accompanied by Monsieur Le Frog de la Throat, though I managed to croak it out pretty well in spite of it… ribbit!

Celebrating Silver is a beautiful collection of quilt art, all of which you can see or purchase on the SAQA website. The catalog, a gorgeous hard-cover book, is available as well. I must thank juror Yvonne Porcella who selected an amazingly talented group of artists. I am so honored to be among them. And another big thank you to Nancy Bavor, the managing curator, for that unexpected and very sweet introduction (that’s her wearing the silvery hair – it was Halloween!) and all her hard work in bringing this wonderful exhibition to life.

Also posted in Exhibitions

Quilt National, SAQA and a little Moonshine

It has been a while since I last posted and a lot has happened, good and not so good. But ultimately very good.

First, some good. The Houston Quilt Market/Festival is underway where SAQA’s latest exhibit Celebrating Silver is premiering. SAQA, Studio Art Quilt Associates, is celebrating their 25th anniversary and invited a select number of artists to create a work of art in honor of this landmark. I was lucky enough to be one of the artists selected. We artists had to keep images of our work under wraps until the premiere but I can now share my piece, Moonshine.



It is made with a luscious cobalt blue dupioni silk, silver lamé and a woven blue and silver textile. I will be attending the festival next week and can’t wait to see the entire collection hanging together. For those who can’t attend the opening, you can see the all the quilts on the SAQA website and where they can be purchased. The catalog is also available (it’s gorgeous!) on the SAQA website. And, today I found out a UK publication, British Patchwork & Quilting magazine, has a beautiful write up on SAQA and the Celebrating Silver exhibit, and my Moonshine is one of the featured quilts. What a nice surprise.

More good…this summer my main project was creating a piece for Quilt National, which I’ve never had the privilege of being in mostly due to not entering. Over ten years ago I entered something that I knew would not get in, I wasn’t ready but I wanted to give it go to understand the process, and of course, it didn’t get in. This year, while recuperating from three herniated discs, I thought long and hard about where I wanted to go with my art. I knew I wanted to move away from impressionistic landscapes into abstract work. I knew I wanted to work large and minimal and I knew I wanted to continue using the salvaged silk sari remnants I’d fallen in love with. Most importantly, I knew I wanted to start working in a series. This summer I made and entered the first piece in this series in Quilt National. It was accepted.

This is insane. This almost never happens. Most first time artists submitting to QN try for years to get in. Well, I’m going to take this as a sign that I have found the direction I’ve been digging down into my soul searching for. This feels good.

Which makes up for all the physical difficulties I had over the summer while making it and preventing me from making a second piece. Without getting too graphic, my back issues were exacerbated by, if not in fact caused by, a very large fibroid pressing against my spine. Ultimately, it was surgically removed (the fibroid, not my spine), along with some female odds and ends I had no need of. Compared to the back pain and sciatica, the surgery was a cake-walk. It’s been a difficult year and, at the same time, one of my very best years.

Feeling so much better now, I’m headed to Houston to walk my assets off looking at quilts!

Also posted in Exhibitions

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