Suzanne Riggio’s Quilted Art Tribute for her Husband [ with her permission to post]

Art Quilt
Size:  20” x 20”
Date:  June 13, 2014
Dedication:  Happy birthday to Rig
Acknowledgement:  Based on a photograph by Rita G. Mouton
Materials:  Sun-printed and painted cotton by Sue Andrus, upholstery fabric, organic cotton batting, cotton print by Moda,  gold metallic thread, invisible thead
Techniques:  applique, fusing, machine embroidery, machine quilting
Colors:  yellow, mauve, burgundy, gold
Suzanne Mouton Riggio
Story:  On June 13, 2014, my husband Donald Riggio celebrated his 88th birthday.  We had been married since August 30, 1952, almost 62 years earlier.  As I write this, we are waiting for God and remembering our incredible journey together: five wonderful children, the expansion of our family, extensive careers in music and art, and a fruitful retirement.  My sister-in-law’s photograph of the two of us strolling and rolling down the driveway was the inspiration for this birthday gift for Rig, the love of my life.
Journey Journeycenter Journeyquilting

Tennessee Wilderness

When we travel, we try to stay the night in an out of the way place. It might be a campground or state park. Taking in the beauty is the way we unwinding from the craziness of the highway. This was the second place we stopped overnight . A storm was moving in across the lake but I had time to snap a few shots.


It Rained in TN.. A LOT

We went off the beaten path for lunch at this great cafe for scrumptious quiche. It started pouring as we were getting ready to leave so we made ourselves comfy with wonderful coffee. The owner was so sweet…he offered to go into the downpour and retrieve our embrella from the van. So, if you are ever in the Gatlinburg area, be sure to tell them I sent you!

The Cabin Cafe, Gatlinburg

Rainy outdoor cafe

The Cold Nose ….Travels to Arrowmont in Gatlinburg, TN

Ron and I just got back from a trip to Gatlinburg where we took a week long workshop from Joan M. Morris on shape resist dyeing with natural dyes. We didn’t take photos during the workshop, too busy absorbing it all during the many demonstrations. Besides, Joan didn’t want her photo taken or photos of her samples. It was the kind of workshop I like because it was a technique workshop full of information to put in our tool box of dyeing knowledge.

We made a 2 week trip out of this since gasoline is expensive and staying longer didn’t add to the gas bill. I have some wonderful photos to share with you all over the next month or so that we took during the stay.  The fur babies travel with us in our small class C motor home.  It is really their second home, too, and they all have their chosen ‘seats’ in the cab. Once in a while there is the same kind of bickering between them that most people associate with human kids….you know the kind…..He touched me!…I want to sit by the window!…Its my turn!!!…That’s usually the two boys since LuLu has her spot. She sits right in front of the AC vents with her nose pressed into it and fur flying from the fan.  No doubt she thinks she will be healthier with a COLD nose!

LuLu with a Cold Nose

Urban Textures Fabric collection

At long last, a journey that started nearly a year ago with a call for entry from SAQA has come to an end of sorts. An end that I hope will be a beginning for me.   Through the hard work of Luana Rubin at and Andover Fabrics, SAQA’s fabric design line named Urban Textures is being pre-sold. It is a stunning collection from 6 SAQA member designers. My design is an edge to edge hombre in 3 colorways which I am showing you below. This began as a photograph of my birdbath so art really can be found all around you. I am so excited and can’t wait to get my hands on the real thing. So many ideas!

The page with the designers’ names has some errors in it but I’m confident that Luana and Andover will get it corrected quickly. The entire collection can be seen on Andover’s website by clicking HERE

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Why do I work in Fiber?

 Larkin Van Horn recently asked on the QuiltArt list if anyone changed  their medium for 6 mo to a year.  And if we did , did we come back to fiber and why, or why not. There have been some wonderful introspective posts from other fiber artists about their personal journeys.

I was fortunate in school to be able to explore most of the mediums. I went to an inner city high school with the art studio rooms taking up nearly the entire basement floor of the school. We had huge kilns for clay, small kilns for jewelry, model spaces and easels for drawing , stained glass equipment, rug making and hooking module, free form sculpture,  jewelry tools and equipment as well as watercolor and oil painting. I had an instructor who was passionate about our learning about each area of art so we could decide what we were passionate about.  I didn’t get as good an education at the college level so here is my hats off to Ms. Bleaks and the old Stephen Decatur High School.

I can say I loved it all but I learned early I did not like getting my hands dirty. That left out all sculpture and clay, as well as most jewelry making since I couldn’t stand the rosin and polishing gunk on my hands.  I loved the rug making and all the drawing and painting classes.

I am drawn to serendipitous results of paint and being able to manipulate it to form the composition in my head. I like the immediacy of it. Then an unknown event happened and I started working in fiber. I think it was the challenge to see if I could do it by myself. I am self taught in traditional quilting and won some prestigious awards. But I hate following patterns or someone else’s ideas. I rarely made a trad quilt without my own personal twist.  When I saw my first copy of Quilting Arts Magazine. I knew in an instant that this was where my heart would lie.

I spent a couple of years recently exploring weaving again. I wanted to create in another form of fiber. It wasn’t ever an attempt to stop working in art quilts but an adjunct. It was way too physically demanding and I sold the largest loom. I still have small looms and my precious stash of luscious yarns gets used for crochet ..again, I can’t follow patterns. I love that I can dye the yarns along with my fabric and the results are just as serendipitous.

It has been a journey that I can happily say is still active. As the years have passed by, my fiber art has morphed. There is a definite progression from what it was to what it is now. My fiber is starting to take on more painterly aspects and I can see ME in both paint and fiber. I choose which medium works for what I want to do or I combine the two of them. Below are 2 of my floral pieces [although I am doing more abstract work now] that I think show you the connection. The quilt on the left is an unfinished shot, though it is finished now . I use quilting and thread to blur the edges of applique to look more like paint strokes. The painting on the right is a large acrylic piece. Can you tell I like hot colors?

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Chillin on a Sunday morning

We were recently at my 90 yr old dad’s. He had been in the hospital and after he got out we stayed to see that all of his home help was lined up and working.  When we go to his house, our fur babies know when they are within a mile of his house and set up a ruckus in the car. Then they rush in  to see Grandpa. This time he wasn’t there and they were confused. Mr. Bandit spent many hours laying in front of his bedroom door and LuLu and PeeWee slept on the rug in front of his chair. They couldn’t quite figure out where he was.

They were so happy when he came home. The way Mr. Bandit lets you know he needs a lap is by patting your leg. It wasn’t long after my dad sat in his new chair that he got the signal. Up went the footrest and Mr. Bandit took advantage of it while my dad read the Sunday paper. They both had their favorite spots.

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