Thursday, December 29, 2011

Atara's Art: a colorful life

     At a meeting of the Studio Art Quilt Association ( SAQA) at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Ma., I was intriqued and moved by Atara Halpern's work, so much so that I phoned her in a neighboring town to see when I could look at it again.
Click to enlarge all photos!

    In no time at all, this generous soul who did not know me had provided a delightful lunch and invited me into her quilting bee where I met other clever people from a neighboring guild.

      Surprise is important for fun and Atara delivers when we meet. Mid-December she laid out her hand-stitched colorful place mats which have metallic free machine stitching for the quilting. She embellished them with the colorful lunch for the bee. Hand stitching, as in these place mats, is fun to have to work on when traveling.

      Atara showed us the first quilt she made, combined in parts, for her bedroom seven years ago. She made more quilts.  The Secret Garden below is one of many shared in a quilt show. She is now working on another Secret Garden.  Since I have been doing some sashiko, I was interested in this other quilt she "saved" from a too loose fabric by close straight hand stitching.

        Apologies for only a few snapshots of all the many interesting, moving works Atara has created. I had to twist her arm to get these. I will be so glad when she has a website so others can see her portfolio of fine hand work...such as the Gardens of Cambridge and other quilts with links to literature. Of course, you really need to see them in person...the buildup of grass and trees, rock and bark, for surface excitement and feel the hours of thought that have gone into the densely hand-stitched creations.

The Secret Garden


  1. Love the images! So glad you posted these. Keep up the great work, and may 2012 bring more great quilt adventures.

  2. What interesting works of art! I do hope that she'll set up a website. It would be wonderful to have her art shared with the world. It's great that you went to see her AND that you've posted her creations. Thanks!

  3. Loved hearing more about this wonderful quilt artist. Tell me what "metallic free machine stitching" means. super pix.

  4. I write in my own language, I guess. Atara used metallic thread and free motion stitched on a sewing machine the floral quilting. But the greater part of the placemats are created with hand sewing.

  5. Beautiful work! I love the colors and the nature she uses for her subjects. She has museum quality art approaches to her work, for sure. Thanks for sharing - and what fun to be given your lunch invitation! ss

  6. Thanks for the explanation! I should have figured it out for myself. But the way I interpreted it was" machine quilting FREE OF metallics," rather than "metallic free motion". Totally dense of me, admittedly! Another example, doubtless, of senioritis!

  7. The place mats are visually smashing. What a privilege it was to be a part of her quilting group. Tell me what you meant by "...the build-up of grass and trees, rock and bark..." Are you referring to layers of fabric? Beautiful photographs!