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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Catherine Whall Smith . . . thinks as Memorial Day weekend approaches – will we still practice “Social Distancing”.

Are we going BACK to this?OR, be safe and continue to practice social distancing this Memorial Day Week-end.

There are always more ideas being generated for my “Barriers” series.  Maybe adding the color yellow, like in my photo below of the plants that I just dug up. Eventually all these hostas will find a new home.

In my studio, I continue to work on “Barriers” – I’ve started to play around with some green fabrics with the addition of little squares.

 “Hay . . . Stay the Distance” #3 is almost completely hand quilted. I ran out of gold Gutterman Cotton thread so I’m waiting for my mail order to arrive soon. I will post the finished piece in a future blog.


If you are making masks , here is a contest just for you! Artists, designers, and creatives of all types and ages have been passionately responding to the current need to cover our faces. The Museum of Craft and Design is launching Let’s Face It, a nationwide craft and design mask competition and community gallery. From the practical to the avant-garde, we are curious to see what you are creating and share it with the world.     Let’s Face It   –  Deadline to enter is May 31, 2020
Enter your design today!



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Catherine Whall Smith . . . is stitching up more masks to get ready to get out of LOCK DOWN!

This Friday, I am sharing something on the lighter side from ~ Bear Creek Quilting Co.

“I hear some people are starting to feel stressed in lockdown! I was just talking about this with my sewing machine, and she seamed to agree. But when I asked the elastic, it just snapped back! I think it was stretched to its limit. So I tried to talk to the cotton, but it shrank away. The linen was in a bunch. The scissors were snippy. Even the stuffing was down. When I came around to ask the buttons, they just gaped.

The snaps suggested I get a grip. Thankfully, the iron gave it to me straight and reminded me this will all be smoothed over soon.”

Design Wall UP-DATE: “Barriers”


If you’re wondering whether to wear or not to wear a mask, consider this. Recently, 21 people died of COVID-19 in Japan. In the United States, 2,129 died. Comparing overall death rates for the two countries offers an even starker point of comparison with total U.S. deaths now at a staggering 76,032 and Japan’s fatalities at 577. Japan’s population is about 38% of the U.S., but even adjusting for population, the Japanese death rate is a mere 2% of America’s.

            “Sew” wear your mask as you plan for the future after lock down.







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Catherine Whall Smith . . . wonders when will I be able to pick up my Art at MMOA and the Hartford Framing Gallery.

So, as many of you have experienced a lot of museums, galleries, and art shows have been either cancelled, gone virtual, or put on hold.  I still have pieces from my “Transfusion” series in two temporarily closed locations in CT.  The “Six by Six” show at the Mystic Museum of Art (shown below), and “Thread Count” at Hartford Gallery Framing .

TOP – “Transfusion #3″ (41H x 71W) – BELOW – Left to Right – all pieces are mounted on 12″x12″x1.5” canvas frames. More of these Small Studies can be seen on my website link:

Artists of all mediums are experiencing this same dilemma.  You can check out some of the New England artists and their websites on line.  The March/April 2020 Artist Directory section of Art New England includes one more piece in my Transfusion series “Blue Bloods” .

Right now the “Transfusion” series is on hold as I start resolving the fabric ideas that now hang on my design wall.

AUDITIONING (below right) some of the fabrics for the “Green Shutters – Barriers” series


       So what is on your design wall?

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Catherine Whall Smith . . . sees LINES and SHAPES everywhere.

During last week’s storm, one of our large – over 1o0 feet high evergreen tree’s cracked partway down the trunk. Below is one of the sections on the ground. I was so delighted that it just barely missed our garden and it’s surrounding fence.  Though it will change our view from our home and my studio; the shadows reminded me of a recent post on Shapes by artist Pat Pauly. You can check it out here; .

Pat’s post made me start looking around at interesting shapes and lines in our back yard.  Here are some old house shutters that might lead to a few fabric studies in my studio.

Time will tell!

Note: How long does it last – recent studies suggest; the Corona Virus can survive; UP to THREE HOURS on paper; UP to 1 DAY on cardboard: and UP to 3 – 7 DAYS on plastic & stainless steel.

Stay Home and Stay Safe – don’t forget your mask. 

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Catherine Whall Smith . . . . is working on hanging SIX FEET apart!

My previous post on March 27, 2020  showed the beginnings of the two pieces I just completed. Titled “Hay . . . Keep Your Distance”, they are a reminder of our present “Social Distancing”. These two pieces have a ton of hand quilting, which was easy to do as I’ve been spending lots of time watching the CNN updates and admiring Dr. Fauci’s ability to “Stay Calm and Carry On”.  So, I decided to take the current social distance advice and hang them 6 feet apart as a reminder to myself as to what that distance looks like.


Even the birds are turning away from each other

Hmmm, then I also decided to prop up two new mounted pieces in my PARTS series – here they are 6 feet apart on a bench in our front hall. 


Six feet may be further than you think!



So keep your distance and don’t forget that mask!

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Catherine Whall Smith . . . knows it’s all OVER THE WORLD!

Yes, my blog is seen around the world in 113 countries! – I’m sure some of the views are due to my membership in Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) SAQA is an international non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the art quilt and the artists who create them. Founded in 1989 by an initial group of 50 artists, SAQA members now number more than 3,600 artists, teachers, collectors, gallery owners, museum curators and corporate sponsors.

SAQA has a “not to be missed” yearly auction of Fiber Art in a 12H x 12W format. This year’s auction will take place online from September 14 through October 4, 2020. For more information go to    I plan to submit two of my 12 x 12 mounted pieces, though I’m still deciding on which ones. Maybe “Stay the Distance”

Or, “Pink Makes a Come Back”

So Go Bid & Buy Fiber Art!

If you are viewing my website for the first time via my Face book post , why not receive my “sometimes weekly blog” via your email.  Go to and click on the    “Follow Blog via Email” bar on the left side of the page.

Note: With everyone dealing with the Corona virus outbreak, artists of all mediums are in their studios creating their reactions to this pandemic. Whether they continue to create beautiful landscapes, contemporary, or interpretive art, it will reflect their thoughts and feelings.  So what are you doing in your studio?

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Catherine Whall Smith . . . shares the virtual Fiber Art in the Local Color #4 “Rails, Roads, Trails” show.

As previously posted the 2020 SAQACT Local Color Show – “Rails, Roads, Trails” – at the Windsor Art Center scheduled for March 21 – May 2nd, 2020 has been postponed until further notice.

The shows curators: Clara Nartey, Kathy Baglioni, and Maureen Lopez  have put together a list of the 21 Artists. Each name is a hyperlink to the artist’s page with images and statement.   Enjoy the virtual show.

Carol W. Capozzoli

Catherine Whall Smith

Catey LaBonte

Christina Blais

Clara Nartey

Dawn Allen

Diane Lillian Cadrain

Diane M. Wright

Evelyn Oliver Knight

Judy Ross

Kate Themel

Kathleen Bagioni

Laura M. Lugo

Lin J. Elmo

Margaret A. Phillips

Mary Lachman

Maureen Lopes

Meredith Brooks

Phyllis Small

Rita Daley Hannafin

Susan K. Ober

NOTE: This September 2020 – Local Color: “Rails, Roads, Trails” 2020 will travel to the Slater Memorial Museum, Norwich, CT .  Exact dates and information on the Opening Reception will be sent when confirmed.

Time to reflect as we “Stay Safe – Stay Home” during this Holy time of the year.  Growing up in Manchester, New Hampshire, I remember during my grammar school years at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School the need to have the perfect Easter outfit along with the over the top Easter hat. A bonding experience with my mother – we would go downtown to Pariseau’s to select it. One year straw was in, another year it was flowers on a stretchable knit cap. Thinking back several Easter’s before those hat bonding experiences, I can still clearly visualize the details of a dusty pink coat and matching round pocketbook in the shape of a cat’s face – with little ears. The set made by my mother also had hand stitched whiskers, nose, and eyes. That attention to the details has stayed with me.  I have no idea what happened to that wonderful Easter coat and cat purse, but I still remember the fine construction and the stitching of the details – so what do you remember?

Wishing you a Happy Spring, Happy Easter, and Happy Passover!



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Catherine Whall Smith . . . shares her process START to FINISH!


Today, I thought I would share my “improvisational” piecing process using five images;

#1 – The fabric piece with red dots on a white background has been laid on top of the background fabric.

#2 – Next I use the edge of the fabric piece as my guide to cut through the back ground fabric.

#3 – Once  that line is stitched in place I can move onto making decisions regarding the placement of more lines as shown below on my design wall;

#4 –  Another section (shown below) already has some lines so is now ready for another green line. My see through ruler allows me to position it so that I can create the proper placement of the top green line. Once the line is slashed I can then complete this section.

#5  – Pressing is an important part of the process – press each line after it is stitched in place.

Don’t be hesitant to try this “Slash and Stitch” method of creating your Fiber Art.

NOTE: “So do what you think you can’t”- not sure what that means – but it struck  a cord with me. It goes beyond “just do it”.  As an artist start with what you know you can do or master and then move on to create that “do what you can’t ” master piece!


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