Catherine Whall Smith . . . Keep the OLD . . but add the NEW.

So when I was in college at the University of New Hampshire I signed up for a photography course to add credits to my Art Minor.  A trip to Boston, MA in the 1960’s allowed me to take many pictures including a man on a park bench – he was just “sitting and waiting”.  Recently I found that old photograph and now it spoke to me. My new work uses photo images of my paper Figure/Ground studies shown on the left in fabric – so the old park bench and the new figure/ground studies found their way into this piece now “perking” and almost complete on my design wall.  It’s title “Waiting for What!”

So what are you waiting for: your stimulus check; your tax return; the daffodils and Spring-like weather; gun reform.  Do you keep waiting or take action?     

Stay Safe . . . Smith Stitch Studio

#1 – UP-DATE: “80@80” -The Art Works of Phyllis Small at the Windsor Art Center has been extended another week.

#2 – UP-DATE: “Inches of Stitches” – Gallery 53 Textile Show. May 8th – May 28th. RECEIVING: Friday, April 30, 12 – 3 / Saturday, May 1, 10 – 2. OPENING:  Saturday, May 8, 12 – 2. PICKUP: Friday, May 28, 12 – 3 / Saturday, May 29. .   

#3 – UP-DATE: Art Center East 2021 – Vernon CT. Annual Artist Member Show. Thurs, April 29th – Sat. May 15th. Gallery Hours: Thursday–Saturday, 1:00–5:00pm. “Hey . . . Hay!” (14Hx11Wx1.5D), and “Where Did I Put That Hay Round?” (14Hx11Wx1.5D) by CWSmith are included in this show.  SEE the SHOW and vote for your favorite three pieces from three different artists for the People’s Choice Awards. .

#4 – UP-DATE – Sister in Cloth Quilting Art Show – ends May 8th. at the Guilford Art Center. Open Wednesday – Friday, 12:00-4:00pm and Saturdays 10:00 am-4:00pm. Free and open to the community. Mask wearing and social distancing is required upon entry.


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Catherine Whall Smith . . . did the drop off – and is now doing some reading.

The drop off for the up-coming CWA* show was last Friday, and since I was in New Britain I stopped by the New Britain Museum of American Art and took in the Helen Frankenthaler exhibit ; – as well as the Shantell Martin exhibit in the New/Now Gallery. On the way out I stopped by the Gallery Store and purchased “Show Your Work” a 2014 publication by Austin Kleon. I especially liked Chapter 2 – THINK PROCESS NOT PRODUCT. If you get a chance pick it up and read it – there is something in it for everyone.

*CONNECTICUT WOMEN ARTISTS Invites You to its ANNUAL MEMBERS’ JURIED SHOWShow Dates: APRIL 17 TO MAY 14, 2021at the ART LEAGUE OF NEW BRITAIN30 Cedar St., New Britain, CT Please Come to our COVID-SAFE, GALA OUTDOOR RECEPTIONSaturday, April 17,2021, 1-3 pm (Rain Date, Sunday April 18, 1-3 pm).  Juror: Roxanne Stachalek, Executive Director of West Hartford Art League. This annual exhibit features some of the finest work of the members of Connecticut Women Artists, a 90-plus year old organization of working women arts. This exhibit includes painting, mixed media, drawing, collage, printmaking, fiber art, photography, and sculpture. My piece “Herd Immunity (18H x 36W shown below) can be seen in this show. It includes all cotton commercial and artist hand-dyed fabrics along with my photo image of cows from a near-by farm digitally applied to treated cotton.

NOTE: Viewing hours begin on the day of the opening reception, Saturday, April 17, 2021, from 1:00 to 3:00, and thereafter on Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. and Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. Speaking of viewing, I just noticed that someone from Uganda checked out my blog on Sunday, April 11, 2021. Hmmmmm!

NO APPOINTMENT REQUIRED. Bring Your MASK Stay Safe . . . Smith Stitch Studio

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Catherine Whall Smith . . . had to re-think what she was doing!

Pictured left “Hey . . Hay” (14Hx11Wx1.5D) is complete, as well as “Where did I put that Hay Round” (14Hx11Wx1.5D) below right. Both of these mounted on canvas pieces will be shown at the Annual Member’s show of Arts Center East, in Vernon CT. Exhibit Dates: Thursday, April 29th – Saturday. May 15th, 2021.

So I decided to re-think the “Ruth Snow Bowen” quilt, which has been on one of my studio design panels for awhile. – THE PROBLEM: I was having trouble visually connecting to my Black & White Log Cabin format. Coincidentally at that time a neighbor dropped off a 1981 college course Folk Art paper that included information about Ruth. The paper also had a few colored photos of Ruth, which made me think – “Grandmother’s Flower Garden” – so colorful – so not Black & White! So I changed my thought process and started thinking FLOWERS. Which led me to the idea of a Flower Block quilt that I remembered Phyllis Small had posted many months ago on Facebook as part of her “Quilt of the Day” posts. Revisiting that simple block format I came up with a couple of different sizes to consider.

So moving in a new direction – Color – Color – and more Color! – I repurposed the original Black and White Squares into individual finished and bound blocks that I will use for a presentation in May of 2022 as part of my Town’s Bicentennial Celebration.

Born in Willimantic, CT on January 4th, 1895 Ruth Snow Bowen died on October 10th, 1983. She lived a full 88 years and made at least 269 bed size quilts, family clothes, and lace handkerchiefs.

Interesting how artists and quilt-makers live on in their art. – Speaking of artists – I did find time to get to artist Phyllis Small’s “80 at 80” show at the Windsor Art Center. Fabulous! I purchased the show book and plan to go back before it ends on May 1st 2021. Hope you get there as well. Happy Easter Week-End! Don’t forget that Easter Hat and Mask!! Stay Safe . . . Smith Stitch Studio

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Catherine Whall Smith . . . so how many have you made – Phyllis Small has made 80!

Yeah, you read it correctly “80@80:The artworks of Phyllis Small” – Opening Weekend: Saturday, March 20, 2021 – 10a-4p & Sunday, March 21, 11a-4p. Grab & Go treats! FREE  From March 21 through May 1, 2021, The Windsor Art Center will present 80 @ 80: The artworks of Phyllis Small. Turning 80 years old is a huge milestone, and to celebrate it, Phyllis Small will be exhibiting 80 artworks, one to mark each year of her life. Spanning Small’s artistic career, the works in this exhibition will vary from extra-large wall hangings drifting down from the gallery rafters to notecard-size pieces. This retrospective highlights the variety of Phyllis’s media over the years as well as the thread that is consistent throughout her career. Her textile creations include paper quilts, fabric on paper, 12”x12” quilts, small and large wall hangings, bed quilts and – influenced by the pandemic – quarantine quilts. Quilting may seem like a big shift from her early works, but this exhibition makes it apparent that her approach to assemblage, color and pattern in her quilts is really an elaboration of her instinct to collage! .

UP- DATE:  Artist Bisa Butler – On Sunday, March 21 2021, the George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum will be co-hosting a talk by American fiber artist Bisa Butler in partnership with the James Renwick Alliance and the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center. Trained as a painter in Washington, D.C., Butler reimagines historical photographs of Black subjects — the famous and nameless alike — as life-size quilted portraits that explode with bold patterns and colors. – – How to Participate in the Bisa Butler Talks – This program will be hosted by the James Renwick Alliance. Please register with them to receive links and information to join the program.

WOW – this is going to be a busy week-end! Don’t forget your mask.

Stay Safe . . . Smith Stitch Studio!




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Catherine Whall Smith . . . Reminder ART CENTER EAST Drawing.

Art Center East’s Fashion show will end soon – but you still can enter their one day drawing. – – Donations made by Saturday March 13, of any amount over $5 will be automatically entered into the drawing!  CLICK on the LINK:

Prizes include jewelry, artwork and more! GO TO: SCROLL DOWN to see the raffle prizes including my Mixed Media Art piece “Marshmallows at Joshua Trust”.

STUDIO UP-DATE:  “HEY . . HAY” (14H X 11W)  below left just came off my design wall and is ready to be hand quilted. AND, “Where Did I Put that Hay Bale” (14H x 11W) below right is ready for mounting. I’m trying a new size rather then the standard (12H x 12W).


NOTE: Don’t forget to sign-up to line-up to get your Covid Vaccine.  But, still Stay Safe by social-distancing and wear your mask!

               Smith Stitch Studio!

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Catherine Whall Smith . . . is a Completer!

I am  a completer . . . no matter how long it takes! Artists refer to unfinished work as “Works in Progress” (WIP’s). My “Barriers” and “Ruth Snow Bowen” quilts are still “WIP’s” I ask myself “Why?”.  Since starting these pieces I have completed many, many other pieces of Fiber Art. Some large, some mid-size, and some small – so what is it about those “WIP’s” pieces that keeps them that way?  . . . Maybe they need a deadline? . . . Maybe due to their size I need more fabric?  . . . Maybe I just don’t feel like doing the work, as I know to finish these pieces it will take a lot of WORK.  Hmmm so art is work!

But there is hope – right now on one of my studio wall panels – there are new ideas ready to complete.  Hand-Dyes by Susan K. Ober; a bird print sent to me by fellow Fiber Artist Christina Blais; some of my photo images and a Figure Study in black/white/blue transferred to fabric.

So what do you do to complete a “WIP”? And what will you take the time to complete this week?

         Stay Safe . . . Smith Stitch Studio!

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Catherine Whall Smith . . . use to MAKE CLOTHING, not anymore!

I grew up in a home where my mother Rose, was usually making something like curtains, clothes, etc. I too did the same when I had my own home. curtains, clothes, etc. But in the mid 1970’s when quilts were put on walls and the art of Nancy Crow had a huge impact on what was happening in the quilt world;  I started to think about quilts in a new way.

A previous blog post suggested that my next “Transfusion” piece. would have lots of reds, oranges, and a touch of green.   The idea of using my own sized pattern that I created in an Advanced Pattern Making class in the 1970’s came to mind as the shapes – the bodice and skirt – that I would use in this piece.  My present “Transfusion” series relates to my father and his sudden heart attack, then why not have this piece relate to the sewing skills “transfused” in me by my mother.  I choose three “dresses” to be the focus of this 60×90 piece (see in progress section on right). Title  “I use to make CLOTHING!”.  My goal was to complete the top and have it ready for hand-quilting by February 11th the date of my 2nd vaccine shot. – BUT, actually this quilt grew – became more complicated and I just took it off my design wall on February 23rd.   So my question; “If I used these pattern pieces to make a dress for me now – would it fit? Hmmmm – do I want to find out – maybe not!  

For a look at more quilts with a clothing theme check out Bisa Butler  – Her large scale works are textile portraits of people of color fabricated from layers of brightly colored fabrics with a multiplicity of meanings. “I quilt because this was the technique that was taught to me at home. I could sew before I ever painted on a canvas.  My grandmother and mother while not quilters, sewed garments almost every day.”  Check her out: OR

Stay Safe . . . Smith Stitch Studio

 NOTE:  If you haven’t had time to check out the 2021 – Art Center East – 2nd Annual Wearable Art Exhibit – February 19th – March 13th. Fridays & Saturdays 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Here is your chance:  Arts Center East is having a fashion show watchable online! (My piece – “Marriage is Seldom Black & White but many Shades of Gray” has been juried into this exhibit.)




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Catherine Whall Smith . . . JOINING borders to make a whole!

As “Transfusion #12” (the dresses) gets larger and larger – I realized that the weight of the quilt will compromise the stitching of each of FOUR separate border pieces on each of the sides. So my solution was to “Join Borders” and stitch the 4 borders together and then attach to the larger piece.  Below the start of that process showing 3 strips being laid out and pressed after each border is attached to the next.

So joining borders to unite is a good idea hmmmmm!

Now on to selecting the fabrics for the back of the piece, which I’ve decided will incorporate fabric shapes of my 1974 pants pattern. (I will explain the 1974 pants pattern in another post.) So far so good with that – though I’ve already spent 5 days in the studio on the back of the quilt. – Needing a studio break I just dressed one of my mannequins with a T-shirt I received from the University of Connecticut. It was a gift for entering one of their on-line challenges. The Benton Museum Challenge – asked members to recreate a work of art. Basically they were looking for art that referenced something in their on line archives. I found the Fox II (1972) (33.5 x 37.3 cm) image shown below right by Anni Albers (aka Annelise Fleischmann Berlin, Germany, 1899 – 1994), and thought my “Joined by the Hand Cuffs” and “Burning Embers” (below left) had a similar format. Check out all The Benton Museum has to offer at

Continuing my short studio break, this afternoon I will check out the virtual Art Center East’s 2nd Annual Wearable Art Exhibit February 19th – March 13th. Accompanying the Exhibit is a Wearable Art Boutique! Browse and shop for one-of-a-kind items from local and regional designers. Enjoy!      Stay Safe . . . Smith Stitch Studio


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Catherine Whall Smith . . . had a “studio pause” to meet a deadline.

Just when everything was going great in my studio as I worked through some ideas including adding my signature slashing lines inserted “after the fact” (see below)


for “Transfusion 12” – THE DRESS PROJECT, an email reminded me of my February 15th deadline.  Last October I signed up for the Brooklyn Library “Sketchbook” project.  As usual I started collecting stuff, and editing ideas until I felt I had a “vision” of what I would do.  Well, time got away from me – so this week I was able to pull it off and complete my Sketchbook. 

Actually I am pleased with the results. It’s focus is my “Hay . . . Keep Your Distance” series.  Not so much the process but a documentation of the pieces with my blog posts that supported the completion of the 12 quilts.  I even went back to add some of the United States infection rates and numbers of deaths during the time I was constructing those pieces. Packed up and ready to be mailed it rests against the recently completed (12H x 12W) – “Bathroom Renovation” piece. My photo image in “Bathroom Renovation” shows the lathe when we removed all the tile on the bathroom tub/shower walls many years ago.

SO WHAT DEADLINES are you working on?  Which reminds me if I am going to make a couple of Fall 2021 deadlines I better finish and get “Transfusion#12” (approximate size 60H x 90W) off my design wall to start the many weeks of hand quilting.   Happy Valentines Week-End!  Remember if one MASK is good TWO are better. BTW – I just received my 2nd Covid shot. Stay Safe . . . Smith Stitch Studio!

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Catherine Whall Smith . . . thought SHE was a stickler for “the details”.

Even though my art reflects a randomness of lines – each of my pieces is well thought out to create that visual.  Shown below right, each line added impacts the “before” and “after”. 

Recently my husband (while reading “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow Penguin Press New York 2004 pge. 564) shared this passage. ” A chronic stickler for etiquette, Hamilton entered into the minutiae of protocol and dress. . . . The most fastidious tailor could not have dictated more precise instructions for Washington’s uniform. “A blue coat without lapels. lining collar and cuffs of buff, yellow buttons and gold epaulettes of double bullion tag with fringe, each having three stars. etc. .  . . For his boots “Long boots with stiff tops reaching to the center of the knee pam . . . ” and on and on! His mind percolating with ideas!!!!

As I create these “Dress” pieces shown in progress on my design wall I too thought of  “the details” – “large round buttons . . a slashing line here and there, side pockets, and lots of dots!” When complete these pieces combined with a third will be “Transfusion #12”.







LOOKING BACK at some of the stages of the”TRANSFUSION” pieces – when almost complete, I decided one more line needed to be inserted into the piece shown below. I carefully marked the section with pins and then took my rotary cutter and slashed the line. Later at the sewing machine I stitched in one of the Karen Lewis black and white “Kite Tail” fabrics – adding some more detail to the piece.        

NOTE:  If you are looking for something to do before the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb.7th, why not attend a virtual SALON TALK from    1 – 3pm by some of the artists in the “MixMaster Show” show. I plan to participate. You can register for the virtual event here: .                                 Stay Safe . . . Smith Stitch Studio!

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