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Friday, October 14, 2011

Madalene Murphy Co-Founder of the MLQG -Quilt Show Part II

Welcome back!!!  Today is part 2 of the Co-Founders of the Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild.   If by chance you missed Part I, click here to read that post.

After reading about Mary Jane's traditional quilts it is interesting that the other co-founder, Madalene Murphy,  is an Art Quilter.  She has found fascinating ways to translate her thoughts, feelings, and  joys to her quilting.  

This sampler was Madalene's first large quilt.  It was funny to see because this may very well be the only "traditional" quilt Madalene has made. 
Madalene wanted to take a quilting class and the one being offered was a Christmas sampler.  She wasn't interested making a Christmas theme quilt so instead of just waiting for the next class (something I might have done) Madalene contacted the instructor and arranged to make some changes.  She made the class work for her and designed some of the blocks to suit her tastes. 
The quilt is beautiful and I really enjoyed listening to Madalene talk about how much she learned in that class.
"Moment of Clarity" is a quilt Madalene made for her daughter's graduation.  The photo above is a picture of a power point presentation screen...not the real quilt. 

As Madalene was contemplating a theme for the gift quilt she remembered her daughter loved making paper snowflakes.  Then she went into the box of treasures and pulled out the paper snowflakes her daughter made when she was young and turned those patterns into a quilt.  Reverse applique and applique was the method Madalene chose to construct this beautiful treasure. 

Can you imagine how loved her daughter must have felt when she received this quilt?  What a treasure!!!

"Thus Spoke Emily" was made as another graduation for her daughter, this time she earned her MA.  I sware this picture does absolutely no justice to this wonderful quilt. 

Emily had studied and written about wagon makers in north central PA while working on her MA.

Are you picking up an overall theme to Madalene's quilting yet?  Let me clue you into something about her.  Madalene was a professor at a local University and what do you think she taught?  No, not sex education...come on now.  I'll give you just one more guess.  Yes, you got it that time, she taught English.  

Communication, words, feelings, thoughts and metaphors are the prism Madalene is looking through as she approaches a quilt project.  I find her style fascinating, don't you?

The title of this quilt is "Yes!"  Madalene had taken a class from Rosalie Dace, a teacher from South Africa.   There are two meanings behind the title of this quilt.

The first "Yes" came when she learned it would hang on the wall straight.  It was the first quilt Madalene designed without any structure...she sort of designed it "off the wall."

The second "Yes" came on the day she was finishing the quilt, September 11, 2011.  That morning she received a call from one of her daughters living in New York City and she learned her daughter was safe.  Another call came in from her son who lived near the Pentagon - he was also safe.  This was the quilt she hung onto as a symbol that there is something positive left, it was not all horror, devastation and fear everyone was having at that time.

The next quilt is one of my favorites, "Celtic Meditation."

The Celtic Knot work is serves as the metaphor for  interconnectedness.  It is very congruent with Madalene's beliefs that everything is interconnected.

Look how beautiful the center is....I just love it.

Next is, "Celtic Hybrid.  It is an sample for a class Madalene teaches on Celtic Knot work.  I'm thinking I need/want this class!!  How about you?
The smaller blocks are examples of what can be done with Celtic Knot work and she made this quilt as a sample to show her students.
I think this picture really shows the colors a bit more accurately.

(I know this is a crummy photo....but it was a picture of a use your wonderful is really wonderful)

Madalene made "Treetise" a queen size quilt for her her son and daughter-in-law's wedding gift. Both her son and daughter-in-law love nature and the quilt symbolizes the interconnectedness between two separate but equal people. You don't see the roots of the trees very well in this slide, but the roots are done in Celtic Knot work. The traditional elements on this quilt include blocks, triangles and they change size to make more movement in the quilt and to outline the big leaf shape in the middle. She used Electric Quilt Software to design the quilt.

"Canon in Green and Blue" is one of Madalene's commissioned pieces.  It was made for a couple who were building a Bed and Breakfast.   In an effort to get some design ideas, Madalene went to the B&B and spent some time looking at the hillside.  She saw trees, sky, fields, leaves and stars.  As she was looking, she realized it was the whole picture that captured the essence of the place.  She wanted to create-the interconnectedness of the sweeping sky and the beauty of the words and fields that was the strength and inner core of the scene.  She used Electric Quilt Software to design the quilt. 
Madalene made this quilt to represent the one moment that is always slipping out of our grasp as soon as we realize it's there.  I'm in love with this is a wonderful physical representation of a mental process.  For me it is a very clear translation...I just get it and can feel it on a visceral level.
Madalene used her own hand dyed fabrics to make this quilt :)
A close up of the beautiful quilting.
"Mountain Sunset" is an example of a bit of tradition but with a twist.  Madalene made this quilt using a rectangular log cabin and played around with the fabrics to create the look she wanted.
Playing around with the drunkards path pattern, Madalene wondered if she could make a tree.  The fabrics are all hand dyes and she only had a fat quarter for the leaves.  I guess you can do amazing things when you challenge yourself!
Madalene said she was very pleased with the trunk of the tree.  She cut some strips of her dyed fabric and sewed them down and it created a neat texture.  There is a lot of heavy quilting too.  Excellent way to practice while making a lovely wall hanging.
Madalene briefly held up this fun quilt while she was talking about the quilt above.  She clearly loves trees and nature.
Eliot is Madalene's 2 1/2 year old grandson.  She made this wall hanging for him when he was born and it hangs over his crib.  Madalene had a lot of fun designing and making the frog and the turtle.  Ahhh, to be loved by one's grandma...a wonderful joy indeed.

The fabric used in this wall hanging was snow dyed.  The fabric hung on Madalene's working wall (also the title of her blog) for a long time.  She really liked it but didn't know what to do with it, so there it hung.  One day she noticed there was the shape of a butterfly right in the middle of the fabric. If you look closely towards the upper quarter of the quilt, you can see the butterfly that has been quilted. 
A few days later, Madalene looked at the fabric again and wondered why it was that she saw the butterfly and wanted to emphasize that instead of the other areas of the fabric with it's beautiful color and textures. The contest between the abstract vs. the representational got her thinking about why we are drawn to one and not the other.  The quilt is titled, "Dialog: Pattern or Picture" There is movement from the representational to the abstract shapes.  When those shapes are turned upside down your brain reads leaf and before it is flipped it is just an abstract shape.   (Yes, I have the entire evening on video tape and I'm reviewing the memory is not this

The "What If" quilts.....

Madalene wondered to herself, "what if I wanted to add some elements of nature to my quilts, can I even do it, physically?"  The colors from the background came to her while going on a walk in nature.
Madalene had just done a  reverse applique quilt and when she started making "Happenstance." She wondered, "what if the reverse applique doesn't reveal what is underneath...what if it reveals a fabric with texture and not just color."  She chose a snow dye and the only fabric she found to go with it was the purple silk.  She added some texture with the silk and then she saw 3 blobs in front of her.  The piece remained on her working wall for quite some time. 
One day while putting some things away, Madalene discovered some heavy silk threads that had made from Saris (Indian women's dresses).  It felt wonderful so she decided to outline the blobs.  Madalene was ready to give up on this had been on the working wall incubating for so long.  Then one day she was playing and made a squiggle with the silk thread and thought it looked like a tree.  There was then three places her eyes could wander to and she liked the meandering sort of serendipity, a wondering...coming upon one place after another.  She wanted to emphasize that movement and she was going to do it with quilting lines and then decided to do it with another shape...she chose triangles.  Then she machine quilted it and added some pearl cotton by hand and finished the quilt.  Talk about a long birthing process!!!

"Text in Context" ....what a fun name!  This quilt came out of a sample piece Madalene was doing with paints.  She had painted some fabrics and the paint bled as it dried.  She looked at it and saw a manuscript (more from her teaching career) and to emphasize that she quilted the lines.  It also looks like a landscape...with the blue sky's and green grasses. 
When Madalene started to make her art quilts she decided she wanted to keep a journal of her process.  Her journal is "Working Wall" her wonderful blog.  I'm a follower....I think you would love reading her posts might just want to be a follower too :)
I know this was another long post.  I hope you find it as fascinating as I found Madalene's presentation.


  1. These 2 posts may be my favorites in a LOOOONG time! So inspirational! Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. It was such a pleasure to see these in person! (and here as well)!

  3. Oh my, Kelly, I enjoyed this trunk show every bit as much as the one from yesterday. You're so right, too -- both of these woman had incredibly different styles, and yet both are quilters to the core. Quilting is such a diverse medium! I loved that first "What If" quilt and all of the Celtic quilts. Just lovely!!! Thank you again for taking the time to share them!! :)

  4. I enjoyed the art quilts. I am certainly not that creative but it is nice to have a peek into her creative process.

  5. Gorgeous - she is marvelous! I really enjoyed this post Kelly, and I'm going to go follow her!

  6. WOW - what creative brilliance! It's amazing that anyone can achieve such beauty, movement & texture with only simple fabrics & threads.

    Thank you for sharing all this glory (and the stories & people behind them) with us. You have truly inspired this little puppy!!

    And speaking of puppies - we haven't seen them in a while. More pictures pleeeeze!!

    When I started following your blog, I dunno, maybe a year ago (ok, probably not that long, but it seems that I've grown a lifetime), I never imagined that such art existed. I have enjoyed how you bring us along to your events and share the absolute joy you feel when you're with your friends and family.

  7. Wow. Such beautiful quilts, especially the Celtic Meditation quilt. I really like all her Celtic quilts but that one is just gorgeous with those colors.

  8. I've loved seeing all these quilts and the amazing diversity. That's what I love about quilt guilds - the diversity of work.

    Thanks for sharing!


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More Later-Beth


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