Catherine Whall Smith . . . had the “OMG” moment!

Fiber Artists are always  saying “I need to or I just cleaned up my studio” True to form, I say the same thing and sometimes I do it.  On Tuesday, July 21st, 2020 I actually did clean ONE draw in my studio. It had lots of Black and White fabric scraps. Some of them from my “Marriage is Seldom Black and White, but many shades of Grey” quilt. 

This quilt was in the 2014 Windham Textile & History Museum’s – “Inspiration Quilts – Then & Now” – 25th Anniversary Show 1989-2014. Other fabric scraps were from a diptych titled “What Size Were You?” shown in “Line Dances: Quilts by Catherine Whall Smith – 
A 20 year Retrospective 1991-2011 ” exhibit in 2012 at the UConn Library and Dodd Center.  Each scrap had no real value right now – to small, etc. – but then I saw this piece (see below)

It was what I now call the “corona virus” fabric. Which quilt was it from – “Marriage” or “What Size”? – So I hunted through the quilts rolled up and stored in part of my 3rd floor studio – took out the “What Size were You” quilt. And, THERE it was – the “Corona Virus fabric” – (detail shown below) sooooo this fabric could be at least 10 years old!!If I knew then what I know now.  Looking back is always interesting. Recently, someone posted on Facebook “Mask it . . . Or Casket” referencing the 2001 campaign, which did work, to get people to wear seat belts titled the  “Click it . . . Or Ticket” program.   Stay Safe . . . Smith Stitch Studio

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Catherine Whall Smith . . . on a road trip was listening to “Hamilton” when she saw this!!!

So, I finally got my act together and with the wonderful help of Amelia Ontario of the Mystic Museum of Art, I was able to pick up my pieces from the (now closed) “Six by Six” show.  I did the usual, listen to “Hamilton” on my car radio – getting very emotional as I heard the amazing and beautiful words of each song. One in particular  – WHO LIVES, WHO DIES, WHO TELLS YOUR STORY – put me into our present pandemic mode. So many stories of so many wonderful people . . . May their stories be TOLD. – – As usual I drive the back roads and of course anticipated what the white marshmallow bunny would be wearing.  I was not disappointed – Heart Eyeglasses and a BIG THANK YOU – tells it all.

THANK YOU to all the front line workers – who are fighting and dealing with the pandemic.     And to Dr. Fauci who tells the story of the numbers of the Corona Virus.

In the mail yesterday, I received my two Fauci dolls, that were ordered several months ago. Josh Livingston of  New England Toy in Simsbury CT shared that through the sale of the dolls they raise $10,000 for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center COVID-19 Fund.


STUDIO UPDATE: I decided to use only BLACK with WHITE printed fabrics for numbers 9  and 10 of the “Hay . . . Keep Your Distance” series.  From my fabric stash I pulled some wonderful printed images to tell the story. The two pieces are lined up side by side on my design wall.  I still have to resolve the bird section on the left. 

My thought was to not “social distance” the birds as in previous pieces but to just line them up side by side and see the outcome.  Kind of the strategy that some of our states seem to be taking!!!!!!    Stay Safe . . . Smith Stitch Studio




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Catherine Whall Smith . . . is doing a little reading!

According to the “Birds in Connecticut” field guide by Stan Tekiela the bird in the Alexander Henry Fabrics Collection: “Bird Seed” fabric used in my “Hay . . . Keep Your Distance” fiber art series could be the American Gold Finch “Carduelis tristis” (Male) 5 in. (13cm).

And, as I read the selvage edge of the wonderful camel fabric in “Hay . . . Keep Your Distance #8” (shown below) it states: “The smell of the ocean, the rhythm of the camel and the sounds of laughter fill my heart.” This fabric is made by Robert Kaufman “Jasmine “- design #16649 copyright Valoriwells.  It comes in different color ways.  I was also able to purchase it in shades of lavender and purple before the “Quilting By the Yard” fabric store in Vernon totally closed it’s doors.









NOTE:  Like “Hay . . .#8”, we are getting some really hot Summer weather in Connecticut.  In some states the Pandemic is getting worse, and I just heard on the news that wearing a cloth mask with 2 layers is one of the best protections against the spread of the virus. Fortunately, the masks that I have been making actually have an extra middle layer of thin cotton batting!


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Catherine Whall Smith . . . shares a “this makes me LAUGH!!!

Morning Motivation With DJ Khaled – for GEICO Insurance – Makes me laugh!!! If you click on the link below, you will see what I mean.

My favorite part of this Geico commercial is when he says “Tiny circles, do another one, another one! Don’t give up!”

For me this translates to tiny stitches, do another one, another one! 

Catherine – Don’t  give up!!!!

All of my fiber art wall hangings are hand quilted. It is a long, long, long meditative process to complete each piece. I do not mark the quilting lines, but rather use the design lines on the back fabric and hand stitch along those lines.  Sometimes I use the design lines on the quilt top and enhance those lines with tiny stitches. The detail photo above of “Hay . . . Keep Your Distance #8” shows some of those hand stitching lines.

SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR – get in that studio – and DON’T GIVE UP!!   But if you are out and about remember this: If you need to ask wear a mask – don’t give up.



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Catherine Whall Smith . . . Happy Independence Day Week-end 2020!

To Celebrate  – the Mystic Museum of Art has put together a virtual show titled – AMERICANA: 64th Annual Themed Regional Exhibition Dates: July 4 – September 26, 2020. My piece “Hay . . . Keep Your Distance #4” (far right) is included in this show of 65 artists. Much of the artwork is available for purchase privately, directly through the artists. Contact information is provided below each image. This exhibition is best viewed at full-size by clicking on the thumbnail images and scrolling down to read the text.  NOTE: Fellow Fiber Artist Rita Daley Hannafin’s piece #24 “American Texture ” includes photos of her grandparents journey from Ireland to America after the Great Famine of the mid 1800’s.


Note: Even the FROGS in Willimantic, Connecticut are social distancing and wearing masks. Hope you are too!  Happy Independence Day Week-end 2020!


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Catherine Whall Smith . . . was successful in finding more “Bird Seed” fabric!

As mentioned in my last post, I save the selvage edge of my fabrics to be able to purchase more fabric at a later date.   I didn’t know at the time I started the “Hay . . . Keep Your Distance” pieces that they would turn into a series. My plan is to do at least 12.  The beautiful “Bird Seed” fabric is key – so I started searching the internet for more.  In my search I came across this color wave of the design.

Love the colors – so after awhile I did put in a bid, it was countered, I accepted.  Here it is;

There was always a nice note in the package. Will put that vendor on the “BUY FROM HERE, AGAIN” list!


STUDIO UP-DATEThe weight of each “Barriers” panel is getting heavy – so the edge of the green shutter has to support that weight.  My thought was to resolve the issue with an iron-on stabilizer fabric. One of my “go to” fabric stores is in Vernon, CT, so I headed over there on Thursday and found out that on Monday it had started a “Going Out of Business” sale.




Battings, etc. were all gone early in the week – still lots of beautiful fabric. So head over before the end of the month. Quilting By the Yard Address: 435 Hartford Turnpike, Vernon, CT 06066  Phone: (860) 896-1056. All regular price merchandise is 50% off with a 1/2 yard minimum cut and all 50% off merchandise from the classroom shelves will be 80% off with a one yard minimum cut.    Please wear a mask or facial covering. You will not be allowed in the shop without one.

Note:  Among quilter, there is a saying ” The person who dies with the most fabric wins!” So go buy that fabric and live a long life! Oh, and wear a mask!!

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Catherine Whall Smith . . . Catherine Whall Smith . . . is amazed that she has some “Corona Virus” fabric!

One of my favorite sayings is “SIMPLIFY! SIMPLIFY! SIMPLIFY! I even have that sign!

Studio Up-Date: the top of the first panel of my “Barriers” series is almost complete – will post that next Friday.

AND, “Hay . . . Keep Your Distance” #5 (shown below) is ready for my hand quilting.





This piece includes small fabric lines of what I’ve been calling the “Corona Virus “ fabric. I purchased this Black and White fabric many months ago – well before the pandemic. At the time, I didn’t know that the white print resembled the Corona Virus. I saved the selvage edge of the fabric so that I could reorder it at a later date. So far no luck finding more of the fabric.

“Hab.i.tat (a philosophy…a refuge…)” Michele D’Amore for BERNATEX Cotton Screen Print Style 3479) Note: I save the selvage edge of my fabrics to document each quilt.

So SIMPLIFY – the new CDC’s guide lines on staying safe post-lock down – wear masks, maintain your distance if you can, and limit your time with other people.

So SIMPLIFY – “If You Need to Ask . . . Wear a Mask!” the likelyhood of spread with a mask goes down to 3.1%.

Celebrate Connecticut’s “Hang a Quilt” Day – June 20th, 2020.


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Catherine Whall Smith . . . will hang “Pain”.

Getting ready for Connecticut’s “Hang – a – Quilt” Day on Saturday, June 20th, 2020 – time to decide which piece I will hang on our side porch. Right now with all that is happening, I’m thinking “Pain” (59H x 53W).  It was juried into the 1993 Greater Denton Arts Council exhibition; “Materials: Hard and Soft” in Denton Texas ; and was show at the UConn Library/Thomas Dodd Center during my retrospective show “Line Dances” in 1212.



“Pain” (detail)

It’s been stored in our attic for several years, so it will be good to get it out and revisit the fabrics, and skeletal images that seem to be falling off the edge.  OR MAYBE, I should hang: “Ready for Battle” (below) with the hay rounds covered in white plastic – no social distancing there!


The rules for this event are very flexible. Just hang a quilt outside on that day. It can be on your front yard, in a park, at a local business, with a sign or not. You can hang it from a tree, a fence, a gate, a rail, a chair, a clothes line, or any other creative way you can think of. You can post pictures on Instagram and Facebook with the #cthangaquilt and share this wonderful art form.  Time will tell.

And, if you do have some time please check out the Mystic Museum of Art -Virtual Transformative Art Experiences and their MMOA AT HOME page:  I am delighted to be included on their ELECTED ARTIST MEMBERS page;    STAY SAFE – WEAR A MASK!


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Catherine Whall Smith . . . works in a series WHY???

As you may have noticed, I usually work in a series. A SERIES is defined as a group or a number of related or similar things, or events, arranged or occurring in temporal, spatial, or other order of succession.  My latest series is titled: “Hay . . . Keep Your Distance”. Each piece in this series includes many wonderful commercial fabrics, artist hand dyes and one of my photo images of a single hay bale that has been printed on treated fabric.


I use a product called “Treasures” by Dritz.   Right now I am stocked up, as a few weeks ago when I started to purchase on line – it was really hard to find; extraordinarily expensive or “Out of Stock”.  Before the pandemic I never had that problem!  I found a fabric shop in California that had 3 packages left in stock – so I purchased them all.  A nice hand-written note by the shop owner came in the package. I will keep that shop on my “Buy from this Lady” list.


I also work in more than one series at a time. “Barriers” is my new series with lots to learn from it’s execution. Even the title makes me think – “what are my barriers; age, health, heritage, money, time”, the list goes on and on.  A series can be two or 50 and counting, as it all depends on what type of story you’re telling and how long it takes you to tell that story. So what is my story – and what is yours!  Stay Safe . . . Keep Your Distance!

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Catherine Whall Smith . . . wonders if our teachers will be wearing masks in the Fall.

My studio up-date on the “Barriers” series will be short this week.  I completed the top to the first shutter panel, looked pretty good – but as I was thinking about where my hand quilting would go, I thought that the piece needed more dimension. So I tried making each “shutter slat” as a separate component that would look something like this:




So, I will cut more fabrics, stitch, and see how this new concept plays out!  As this will be a slow process to come up with enough slats for another panel, I decided to take a short break and work on “teacher” masks.

Below are a few of them that are complete;










So how many schools will be in session this Fall – at this point who knows!  Hats go off, (while the masks stay on) to the parents, teachers, guardians, students, and administrators that are living and working in a new normal of a teaching and learning environment.


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