“Transition Portals” – Another Small Beaded Art Quilt for a “Reader’s Challenge”

"Transition Portals" - a small beaded art quiltNancy Smeltzer, MFA

In a posting last week, I wrote about “Quilting Arts” magazine’s recent Reader’s Challenge entitled “Passages”. That magazine, one of the premier publications for art quilts here in the States, had a recent challenge where you were asked to submit a piece based on the word “Passages”. The word has a lot of meaning for me, as I wrote about the one that I used to help ease my mother’s crossing when she died in April. I also use the word quite a lot on my healing practice, “Transition Portals“, so I was inspired to enter two quilts for this contest.

To help people break free from negative repeating patterns of behavior in my healing practice, that sometimes means slipping through and under multiple layers of accumulated stuck energy. When you release those overlying coverings of muck, beautiful and shining areas of your life can surface. That’s what I tried to achieve in this piece by having thin layers of sheer ribbons overlay underlying motifs.

Detail of portal in "Transition Portals" - a small beaded art quiltIn the upper right of this detail shot, I changed the portal from being a square golden window, as in my other Meditation Gardens series, to a radiant circle of healing light. Many of my clients describe seeing lights of various colors come into their fields of vision as their issues clear for them, so it seemed natural to include that for the main design motif. The central part of the circle is a translucent glass button from Czechoslovakia. I love the shine from that one and some of the others that have been included as the “Cathedral Window” one in lavender in the lower left hand side of this shot. The sheer ribbons had an opaque edge to both long sides, so I spaced size 8 seed beads the length of the edges to give them a picot look. Those additions seemed appropriate, as I find that when I’m healing something for myself or someone else, there are often tiny bumps along the way that can really hold things up for an issue being released.

I’m pleased that given all of the turmoil that last few months in my life, that I was able to make two of these mini-quilts, (10″ or 25.5cm square), photograph them, and get them off to “Quilting Arts” magazine a week before the deadline for submission. I’ve often joked about how it’s a good thing that I’m not a painter, as you can’t submit a canvas that’s still wet, and I have often worked up until the last minute before something is due. Given that contests today are rarely judged form the actual piece, and not having to wait for slides to be developed and returned in order to mail them off makes submitting for contests and exhibitions so much easier these days than when I started back in the 80s. Still, there’s some quite satisfying about hitting that “submit” button a week before the entry is due that made me feel like my life is getting back to normal.

You can read this and other blogs about art quilts at… http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com/ . Do check them out, as there’s quite a diverse group of people who post on that site.

What part of the creation process is most satisfying for you? How do you feel when you’ve completed a piece?

Why not leave a comment as to your thoughts on this posting. Please take a minute, fill out the form below or by clicking on the “comments/no comments link” at the top of the posting, and then share your ideas with the rest of us. We all grow when we share our thoughts and impressions, so why not join our growing community of those who appreciate art quilts and textile arts. We’d love to hear from you!… and PLEASE tell like minded souls about this blog! The more readers and contributors, the more I write because encouragement helps the words flow!

You can see more of my art work on my web site at www.fiberfantasies.com (be patient as it loads; it’s worth it), my spiritual healing work at www.transitionportals.com and can find me on Google + , Facebook (for Transition Portals) Facebook (for Fiber Fantasies),  and Twitter.

To find out how to buy my art work, please check out “How to Buy my Art Work” in the “Pages” section to the right of this blog.


  1. Love your beading and the meaning behind your piece!

  2. Thanks, Margarita. I enjoyed giving a tactile image to what I see behind my eyes.

  3. Lisa says:

    Very pretty quilt! I love the creating – the planning and figuring out how I will do it. I have to really, really push myself to finish a piece.

  4. Each artist has their favorite part. For me, it’s the pinning of the fabric into place, and then sewing down the buttons. After that, it becomes the “Time of the Long Sew”, as in some areas of my larger quilts, 1 square inch ( 2.5cm square) = 1 hrs. work. BTW, eQuilter has a cool design board…. http://tinyurl.com/ls77jwe has a deign board you can play with fabrics that you’ve chosen and put in the shopping cart. I also have a running series of UFOs, or Unfinished Objects. If you have some well lit photos of your unfinished pieces, why not send some pics to me and tell me about your piece and why it’s not finished… info@fiberfantasies.com

  5. The beading and buttoning is gorgeous. Very moving piece. Thanks for sharing.

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