Friday, June 23, 2017

“We All Swim Together” Update

Here’s the latest on “We All Swim Together,” the big piece I've been working on – off and on, but mostly off – since 2013! My goal with this wholecloth quilt is to educate viewers about the dangers to fish species around the world. Marine biologists believe we we could feed the world and end starvation if we only managed our oceans, lakes and streams properly. Many fish are endangered due to overfishing, pollution, environment degradation, and climate change. I also want to show the beauty and amazing diversity of fish species. 

Right now, the fish fill a space about 80" wide and 60" high. This art quilt will probably be about 90" square when I finish. In the past week or so, I’ve drawn about 10 more fish, and painted these:

Orange Roughy
Honeycomb Stingray (with Indian Scad below)
Piper Gurnard

Flat Needlefish

Arctic Char

The photos below show more of the whole quilt, and give you an idea of the size. (Cat shown for scale). 

If you have questions about my wholecloth painting process, please visit my blog post here:

If you want to see previous posts about this piece, and see my progress, click here:

I also have a DVD on my process. It's called “Dynamic Quilt Design: Paint Meets Stitch.” You can purchase it here:

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Wicked’s Eye

“Wicked’s Eye”
whole cloth painting by Susan Brubaker Knapp

My cat, Wicked, is famous! I used her eye as the focus of this article in the latest issue of “Quilting Arts” magazine. I explain how to paint a realistic cat eye on fabric, step by step. The issue is available on newsstands now, or online here.  

Monday, May 8, 2017

“Poisonous Words”

“Poisonous Words”
by Susan Brubaker Knapp, copyright 2017 (34.5" x 23.5")
Wholecloth painted, free-motion quilted. White cotton fabric, acrylic textile paint and ink, wool batting, cotton thread, commercial cotton fabric (backing)

“Poisonous Words” is my entry for the “Threads of Resistance” exhibition, which will premiere at the New England Quilt Museum July 11, 2017, and then travel to 11 other venues, including museums and quilt shows. I am one of ten artists organizing this exhibition. 

It is based on a sketch I made during the campaign, and features a painted and thread sketched portrait of Donald Trump with a copperhead snake going in his ear and out his mouth. He is surrounded by a cloud of his own poisonous words. 

I hated making this quilt. I hated it that I felt I had to make it. Working on this piece – seeing these words and hearing Trump’s voice saying them — made me physically nauseated.

“When someone shows you who they are,
believe them the first time.” 
– Maya Angelou

I was greatly disturbed by things Donald Trump said during the presidential campaign, and by the words he used. It was amazing how many women I know who were horrified to hear people using the word “pussy” or talking about pussyhats, but who brushed off Trump’s “grab ’em by the pussy” comment as “boys will be boys” or “locker room talk.” So much of what came out of his mouth were racist, misogynistic and xenophobic insults. 

For our democracy to succeed, and for us to solve vital problems our country faces, we must be able to discuss important issues with civility and respect, to listen to others’ views without insulting, even if we completely disagree. Finding common ground – even a small patch of it – is impossible without this. If these kinds of comments are considered acceptable for our president to say and tweet, then they become acceptable for others. They are a poison that infects us all. 

I believe that the rise in hate crimes, as documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center and other organizations, is a direct result. Words have power. Words often lead to actions. The poison is spreading. 

All of the words in this piece are those of Donald Trump:

Nov. 13, 2015, campaign speech in Fort Dodge, Iowa: Trump said he wouldn’t reveal his secret plan to destroy ISIS, but “I would bomb the shit out of them. I’d just bomb those suckers. I’d blow up the pipes, I’d blow up the refineries, I’d blow up every single inch — there would be nothing left.”

July 13, 2016, on Twitter: “Justice Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me. Her mind is shot - resign!”

Trump called Alicia Machado, Miss Universe 1996 “Miss Piggy,” because she gained weight after the competition. He also called her “Miss Housekeeper,” and “Miss Housekeeping,” apparently because she is Latina. “She was like an eating machine,” Trump told Howard Stern in a radio interview in February 1997.

Presidential announcement speech, June 16, 2015: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

In 2005, Donald Trump made the following comments in an interview with Billy Bush for the TV show Access Hollywood: “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything…. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything. …I moved on her and I failed, I'll admit it," Trump can be heard saying in the video. “I did try and fuck her. She was married.”

In 2011, attorney Elizabeth Beck told CNN that she was representing clients who were trying to get their condominium deposits back from Trump after a failed real estate venture in 2011. She said that she had been taking a deposition from Trump when she asked for a break to pump breast milk. “He got up, his face got red, he shook his finger at me and he screamed, ‘You're disgusting, you’re disgusting,’ and he ran out of there.”
Feb. 11, 2016, at a rally in New Hampshire, Donald Trump told voters to reject local companies who move business overseas: “You can tell them to go fuck themselves.” (He mouthed the word, but didn’t say it out loud.) 
Oct. 19, 2016, at the final presidential debate, Donald Trump said Hillary Clinton was “such a nasty woman” while she was answering a question about how she would raise taxes on the rich to tackle debt and entitlements if she were to become president.
August 2016: After a presidential debate moderated by Fox News Channel anchor Megyn Kelly, Trump said she “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
Dec. 7, 2015, statement on Muslim immigration: “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” 
After Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter said Trump had short, stubby fingers in the 1980s, Trump has repeatedly responded, sending him photos of his hands. In a 2011 New York Post article he said, “'My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”

Premiere dates: July 11 - September 9, 2017
New England Quilt Museum
18 Shattuck Street, Lowell, MA 01852
    Opening reception: July 15, 2017 at 11 a.m. 
Santa Clara, CA

November 9-11, 2017  
Original Sewing & Quilt Expo
Minneapolis, MN  

December 9, 2017 - February 18, 2018
Fuller Craft Museum
Brockton, MA

Reception: Jan. 21 

March 8-10, 2018  

March 15-17, 2018  
Original Sewing & Quilt Expo
Lakeland, FL

April 5-7, 2018  
Original Sewing & Quilt Expo
Cleveland, OH  

June 4-9, 2018  
Original Sewing & Quilt Expo
Arlington, VA

July 18-20, 2018  
Original Sewing & Quilt Expo
Raleigh, NC

August 3-24, 2018
Experience Fiber Art

The Wilder Building
Rochester, NY
Oaks, PA

October 4-6, 2018  
Original Sewing & Quilt Expo
Fredericksburg, VA

Friday, April 28, 2017


by Susan Brubaker Knapp, copyright 2017 (18x18")

This new little piece is made entirely with Jamie Fingal’s charming new fabric line, “hopscotch” by RJR Fabrics. The line features 83 different playful fabrics, mostly tone-on-tone blenders based on Jamie’s sketchbook drawings of flowers, loop-de-loops, geometrics, and dots. 

There is a rainbow of colors in this line, and I wanted to use as many of them as I could, so I created a design to accommodate them. I created the satellite on the background using hand needleturn appliqué, then free-motion machine quilted the piece. I pieced together more of the fabrics for the rainbow binding, and added Perle cotton hand-stitched lines around the circles to look like signals coming out from the satellite. 

The line will debut at Spring Quilt Market in St. Louis in mid-May, and the fabric will ship to stores in August. 


hop, skip, jump blog hop
4-24 Jamie Fingal
4-25 Cindy Cooksey
4-26 Sue Bleiweiss
4-27 Lyric Kinard 
4-28 Susan Brubaker Knapp
5-1 Leslie Tucker Jenison
5-2 Deborah Boschert
5-3 Libby Williamson

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Registration is open for "Tyvek Explorations"

You can register now for my first online class! 
“Tyvek Explorations” begins June 7. 
The course is designed to introduce you to Tyvek, a versatile crafting material. When melted, Tyvek creates interesting effects that can add wonderful texture to fiber art. Through a mixture of written step-by-step instructions (available to print out as PDFs, so that you can save them for future reference), slideshows and videos, you'll learn the basics of working with Tyvek. By participating in online discussions, you can communicate with me and your fellow students, share photos of your work and ask questions. 

The class will include six lessons - one each week over six weeks - covering:
  • information about different kinds of Tyvek
  • safety precautions for melting Tyvek
  • melting with an iron and heat gun
  • creating beads
  • making pins and embellishments
  • stitching through Tyvek before and after melting
  • manipulating Tyvek before melting to achieve special effects
  • creating a "November Leaves" art quilt
  • making Tyvek bracelets and a cuff
  • creating a "Cairn" art quilt with melted Tyvek embellishments

On May 31, 2017, the introductions section of class will open, and you'll have time to explore and get comfortable with the Ruzuku platform, and introduce yourself to the other students in the class. The first lesson opens June 7, and the last lesson opens July 12. The class will remain open for three weeks after class, so that you can finish up, get your last-minute questions answered, and print out the course content for future use. 
The price for the six-week class is $75, and you can register and pay at the Ruzuku site. 
You can download the supply list before you sign up.
Here's a look at some of the photos and activities we will be doing in class:

Friday, February 24, 2017

QuiltCon 2017

Bling (Best of Show) by Katherine Jones

I thoroughly enjoyed my first QuiltCon, in Savannah this weekend. Here are some of my favorite quilts.
Wavelength by Rebecca Bryan, quilted by Angela Walters

 Wholecloth by Angela Walters

 Ventana by Allison Glass,  quilted by Angela Walters

Madonna by Brittany Bowen Burton, quilted by Natalia Bonner

 by Brittany Bowen Burton, quilted by Natalia Bonner

Not Easy Being Green by Mary Keasler

 Not Easy Being Green by Mary Keasler

Go North by Maritza Soto

Go North by Maritza Soto

designed by Lisa Congdon, pieced and quilted by Gina Pina

Boulder Field by Kathy York

Caged by Amy Friend

Vertigo by Elaine Poplin

Finding the One by Miriam Coffey

Still With Her by Liz Harvatine

Meeting of the Geese by Sylvia Schaefer

Synapse by Kari Vojtechovsky

Synapse by Kari Vojtechovsky

Community quilts made for the Emanuel AME Church Project

Moonie McMoonFace by Melissa Averinos

Tulsa by Jane Swanson

Tulsa by Jane Swanson

Folksy Fish by Sarah Sharp; quilted by Karlee Porter

Square Count Game by Debra Jalbert

Square Count Game by Debra Jalbert

Say Anything by Lisa Flower

Wax and Wane by Susan Kyle

Whatever by Katie Larson

Big Island Blossoms by Sherry Cifaldi-Morrill

Through My Lens by Brigitte Heitland

Jubilant by Maria Varner

Bioberella by Hillary Goodwin

Bioberella by Hillary Goodwin

Tea and Skittles by Thomas Knauer

Tea and Skittles by Thomas Knauer

In Carrboro by Chawane Kimber

Inside Out by Sue Bleiweiss

Dipped Dimension by Kathleen Probst

Dipped Dimension by Kathleen Probst

Gradient in Denim by Matthew Boudreaux

Gradient in Denim by Matthew Boudreaux

Smoke by Katherine Jones

Smoke by Katherine Jones

Safety Network by Sherri Lynn Wood

Finding Harmony by Cinzia Allocca

Finding Harmony by Cinzia Allocca

Scattered by Jess Frost

Scattered by Jess Frost

Lincoln by Kim Super

Black and White Botanical Quilt by Lesley Gold

Quilt no. 019: Of Discontent (back and front) by Shelby Skumanich

Quilt no. 019: Of Discontent by Shelby Skumanich

#CUquilt by Ginerva Martin

#CUquilt by Ginerva Martin

I Know the Stars are There Beyond the Clouds, 2 by Heidi Parkes

I Know the Stars are There Beyond the Clouds, 2 by Heidi Parkes

One of the beautiful QuiltCon ribbons

Autumn is Wistful by Chawne Kimber

Autumn is Wistful by Chawne Kimber

Tartan Tattoo by Linzi Upton

Volunteer showing back of Tartan Tattoo by Linzi Upton

Tartan Tattoo by Linzi Upton

Infused Plaid by Cassandra Beaver

Direction Optional by Stephane Ruyle

Direction Optional by Stephane Ruyle

Austin Quilt by Gina Pina

Austin Quilt by Gina Pina

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes by Sylvia Schaefer

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Artichokes by Sylvia Schaefer
Learn more about the Modern Quilt Guild and Quilt Con here: