Saturday, July 25, 2015

Remembering Jean Lohmar.....

Tequila Sunrise by Jean Lohmar

On this beautiful July day while walking outdoors, something in the colors in nature all around me suddenly reminded me of my quilting friend Jean Lohmar who passed away in May.  The deep sky blue, the brilliant colors of the flowers, even the dark grey of the parking lot all jumped out and reminded me of Jean's love of color in her quilts.  Despite the sunshine I felt a moment of loss and sadness.

In June when I heard the news of Jean's death  I was not only saddened but surprised.  Jean always seemed ageless, always so energetic and active, planning another quilt with one in progress on her machine.  I know many of you who read my blog might have known her too.  She was an integral part of the home machine quilting revolution and was a quilter for many years, prolific in exhibiting and teaching, and recipient of many awards and recognition for her work.  

Back in the late 1980's I first heard Harriet Hargrave lecture and was beyond excited to try and quilt an entire bed quilt on my home sewing machine.  I searched and was able to buy a copy of Harriet's landmark book Heirloom Machine Quilting.  One of my favorite gallery photos included was a traditional quilt called Spoon River Christmas by Jean Lohmar.  I loved it, and made a mental note of her name.

Some years passed, and with trial and error, hard work and perseverance I succeeded at home machine quilting, entered quilts in many shows, and in 1998 taught my first classes at the AQS Quilt Show in Paducah.  One of my students was Jean Lohmar, who also had a winning quilt in the show that year.  

She introduced herself and I grinned and said with excitement: "Spoon River Christmas!!!"  From that moment we were friends, sharing quilting information and ideas, our paths crossing again and again over the years.  Jean was a part of my Camp Diane, and many of you knew her from her programs, lectures and trunk shows, many with her dear friend Millie Sorrells.  I always looked forward to Awards Night at Paducah; old friends Jean, Millie, and Marla just might be there!

Three years ago I was fortunate to see her one-woman quilt exhibit at Wisconsin Quilt Expo in Madision, WI.  It was a glorious retrospective, one quilt after another, as Jean always worked hard and when an idea struck, she made and finished a quilt.  It was amazing to see them all together like that, quilts that were old friends, some that I had missed in person but had seen in photos.

 Jean and I literally bumped into each other at the exhibit and had a hug, big smiles, and a quick visit, both marveling at how far we had come, how far quilting had come since we had first met.  With a smile and wave we said goodbye, always looking forward to another meeting at another quilt event.

Sadly, that was the last time I saw Jean.  I will remember her with happiness and fondness from all the times we were together: Jean smiling, energetic and smart and funny and caring. 

Many of you will miss her too, but we have the legacy of her spirit and her work for inspiration, and we will also remember what a true quilting friend she was, a very special lady. She will be missed.


p.s.  I inadvertently first posted a quilt photo of Mildred Sorrells' "Butterfly's Delight" at the top of this post and attributed it to Jean but that was incorrect, and that photo has been removed.  I found  the quilt photo online under Jean's name but that was not accurate.  Sorry for the error, and apologies to Millie.  Please play the video below to see a lovely array of Jean's quilts, and enjoy the photo of her award-winning "Tequila Sunrise," above, sent to me by her close friend Marla Yeager.  

In Remembrance of Jean Lohmar 1929 ~ 2015
For her obituary, please click HERE.
For a video of her work made by her son, click HERE.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Off the Grid

Photo by Joan Coats

Monday greetings to all......I have been living "off the grid" for a few months, some of it totally unintentional!  An injury, retirement, and the usual daily "stuff" have all kept me busy and away from quilting.  We discontinued our landline and got new smart phones which I do love and I also love no constant phone calls on the landline.  However, my website email was dropped due to an office error at my IP, and I didn't know it, so I've missed quite a lot of communications from all this.  

After some phone calls to right the situation, my email is working again, my website is back online, and I purchased some new software so perhaps I will be able to update that once again, and add current tips and info.  It's hard for me to believe I've even had a website for so many years.   Stay tuned!

Even when I haven't been quilting, my quilter's eye is seeing the world from a point of view always affected by my love of color and design.  The drape and color of Oliver's tail on a magenta pillow, so beautiful, placed just right for the correct proportion, or the colors of the summer sky at dusk, how beautiful.  These things remind me of quilts and the delights of working with fabric, thread, color.  

Every now and again I browse through my FB page and see the incredible quilts and work so many of you are doing.  Quilting is going forward with new ideas and designs and I congratulate all the quilters who are sharing their work and tips and ideas, keeping it all alive.  

"Rabbit in Green"  40" Silk wholecloth, Diane Gaudynski 2005

Meanwhile, today there is the outside trim on the garage door to scrape and paint, another rainstorm might prevent that though, boxes of old files and papers to sort and prepare for shredding, and some great shows I've recorded on PBS await me this evening.  I love the new "Poldark" series.....

Hope all of you can keep quilting!  Your work gets better everyday.....

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