Piece and comfort for the eyes, heart, and soul.


Christmas Ornaments

Embroidered and finished by Sue Hickman     Berryville, VA    12/2017
While getting back in my ‘creative groove’ I stitched up these new Christmas ornaments (chickadeehollowdesigns). They hang annually on my tall quilted Christmas Tree.
It is our tradition to hang ornaments one per day on the 24 red buttons on this tree as we count down the days from Dec 1st to Christmas day.

Artist’s Private Collection

IMQE – Friendship Star

(22″ Sq.)
Pieced and quilted by Sue Hickman     Berryville, VA     9/2017
Per the ‘rules’, kept secret until May 2018 when we exchange our quilts.
1 US Quilter + 1 International Quilter + A Passion for Quilting = A Priceless Experience! Team #376
Through this International Miniature Quilt Exchange, hosted by The Quilt Show a new friend in Lucja from Poland and returned to my quilting roots. I’ve quilted for over 40 years. Lucja is relatively new to quilting.  Inspired by the purpose of this exchange, we choose a simple traditional Friendship Star theme for our challenge.
For me, the challenge was to make this traditional pattern ‘new’. By changing the background fabrics in selected sections of the scrappy blocks, a large friendship star shines bright amidst the 36 smaller ones. Born on Flag Day, I made my quilt subtly hint of the American Flag with blue stars in the upper left corner and alternating rows representing red. A thin printed ‘braid’ border separates the stars from a piano key border and fussy cut flowers fill each corner in honor of Lucja’s love of flowers.
My quilt is machine pieced and quilted. A tiny stipple solidifies the large center star from which lines radiate. A simple vine of flowers and leaves winds its way across the piano keys.
Through emails, like pen pals of old, we shared from our hearts about our lives and our families. If distance didn’t separate us, I think Lucja and I would be even closer friends. Her gorgeous flower gardens make me want to dig alongside her in the dirt and I’d love to help her grow her love of quilting.

Owned by Lucja Dybińska, of Gryfice, Poland
Up Close

(…and in exchange, I received this gorgeous, bright, cheerful friendship star quilt with a modern twist to which Lucja added an element of Polish Culture, a fabric with a motif of Polish “folk łowicki”. I will treasure it always!)

Visions of Vincent

(20″ Sq.)
Designed for Cherrywood’s 2017 Van Gogh Challenge
Paper-pieced, Reverse, Needle-turn, Raw edge and Fusible Appliqué. Layers upon layers of fabric, silk ribbon, tulle, machine quilting, thread painting, texturizing, and hand-sewn 2mm Australian sequins by Sue Hickman   Berryville, VA      7/2017
Leading up to the ‘reveal’ of this quilt, I shared the following snippets and quotes on my Facebook page:
7/25/2017 – Inspired by a life-long passion for his work, I was challenged this past year to bring my most vivid recollections of Vincent van Gogh to life. It wasn’t my goal to re-create his work, but rather to pay homage to him and his post-impressionist emotion and vision.
Before I reveal the completed work, though, I thought I’d present you with peeks at my creative journey and some of my favorites of his famous quotes. These wise words speak truth… even to one who can’t fully appreciate wheat because of the gluten it contains.
“If I am worth anything later, I am worth something now. For wheat is wheat, even if people think it is a grass in the beginning.” -Vincent van Gogh

7/26/17 – Vincent van Gogh said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”  This can certainly be said of my humble attempts to make challenge quilts with the hope they will be well received and considered ‘great’!
Unaware of anyone who had ever achieved this 3-D concept using a variety of traditional quilting techniques (machine piecing and applique’, for example, rather than Photoshop), I tackled my “Lion King – Circle of Life” quilt literally one step at a time.  Each day I simply did “the next thing” until it was finished. I still marvel and am honored it was awarded Cherrywood’s Choice Award in their Lion King Challenge 2016.
Creating this year’s Van Gogh Challenge quilt had me experimenting with a number of techniques (new to me) and ‘painting’ with tiny pieces of fabric, one piece at a time.

7/27/17 – Vincent van Gogh was quoted as saying, “I am far from being what I want to be, but with God’s help I shall succeed.” His words seem to convey what I’ve long said, “God’s not finished with me yet.”  I love that I still have growing and stretching to do in this life, and through my artistic expression. It keeps life interesting.
He also said, “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything.”… To which I say, “Yes!” I guess that’s why I so love a challenge. I’m selective with the challenges I take on, though. My inner spirit has to be moved by the challenge, producing a passion for the project within me.

7/28/17 – Maybe it’s because we are both artists, but I can totally relate to so many of Vincent van Gogh’s words… He once said, “I long so much to make beautiful things. But beautiful things mean painstaking work, disappointment, and perseverance.”
As my “Vincent” took shape I lost count of the things I tried to achieve the look I desired until finally it met with my satisfaction.

7/29/2017 – Vincent van Gogh said, “If you have a voice within you say you cannot paint then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” And, “I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.”
I can totally relate!!!
When I take on ‘quilt challenges’, they begin as a thought, a concept, a dream and then I go to work to create that dream. And when a nagging little voice tries to tell me I cannot do it… that I cannot design and bring that design to completion with fabric, I just work all the harder, and that voice is silenced.

Vincent van Gogh said, “It’s a pity that, as one gradually gains experience, one loses one’s youth.”
I’ve been quilting for almost 40 years and I’m still exploring new ideas and techniques in quilting. It keeps quilting fresh and exciting for me. Over the years I’ve continued to build upon the basics learned long ago. “Back in the day” I pieced, appliquéd, and quilted by hand and, whenever appropriate, I still incorporate those techniques in my quilts. In the process of practicing my art, though, like Vincent, I’ve left my youth in the rear view mirror.

7/31/17 – Vincent van Gogh said, “I can’t change the fact that my paintings don’t sell. But the time will come when people will recognize that they are worth more than the value of the paints used in the picture.”
When one can buy ‘quilts’ at WalMart for a fraction of their worth, even as the skills incorporated in their making are beginner at best, and folks sell their production pieces on Etsy for a bargain, it is a special person who can see the true value in a beautifully hand-crafted quilt, whether it will be functionally used for warmth or admired on the wall for the beautiful piece of art that it is… John Keats said it best, “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: Its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness; but still will keep…”.
8/1/2017 – Vincent van Gogh said, “What is done in love is done well.” “If you work with love and intelligence, you develop a kind of armor against people’s opinion, just because of the sincerity of your love for nature and art…” and “I wish they would take me as I am.”
Like Vincent, I pour love and passion into my work. It is always my hope that others will love my quilt as I do… but it isn’t finished until I love it.
Why work so hard at it? This expresses my ‘why’:
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Colossians 3:23 (NLT)
Of course, I hope my work is well received, but if I love it, if I feel I have done my best work, if I feel God is pleased, then that is enough. That said, of course I’m still hoping mine will be chosen to number among the finalists. Check back tomorrow to see my Van Gogh Challenge quilt.
Ta-da… after 8 days of sharing my favorite Van Gogh quotes, I now would like to introduce you to my “Visions of Vincent”.

Artist’s Private Collection

In this piece I didn’t try to recreate his work, rather, it was my goal to create the illusion of his masterful Post-impressionistic emotion, paint strokes, shading, and movement.
As he did with paint on canvas, I tried emphasize the application of fabric on the quilt. In it, visions of The Starry Night, with its iconic Cypresses, Venus (the morning star), and church steeple flow through the mind’s eye of Vincent’s Self Portrait of the same year…1889 (the year before he died).
I am genuinely honored to have my Visions of Vincent quilt number among the original 120 finalists, which comprise the French Gallery exhibit.

While I’m thrilled it found favor in the eyes of the judges, most importantly, I like it… no, I love it! This was my first attempt at a quilted portrait and as I sit and type these words I can glance across the room and see Vincent. Looking as I am from the right side, his face has a fullness of shape, contour, and perceived depth.
Thank you Cherrywood for another awesome challenge! Like the Lion King, this one certainly took me to places I’ve not been before in the creative process. It genuinely stretched and grew me!
Van Gogh Challenge Statistics: 465 entries. 120 Original Finalists, including the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners, Cherrywood’s Choice and Bohin’s Choice quilts, comprise the French Gallery exhibit. 80 Finalists comprise the Dutch Gallery exhibit which will debut Spring 2018 and travel through December 2018. Additionally, 10 quilts comprise the “Cherrywood Collection” and will be displayed at Cherrywood lectures, Trunk Shows, Retreats, and at the Dye Studio.
You will also find information about this quilt on my Visions of Vincent and  Challenged links.

Fractured Floral #13

(15″ x 21″)
Fractured, pieced, thread painted, and quilted by Sue Hickman     Berryville, VA     6/2017
More ‘floral scraps’ fractured beautifully!

Available for purchase

Kaleidoscoped Tree of Life

(55″ x 40″)
Designed, pieced, appliqued, thread painted, and quilted by Sue Hickman     Berryville, VA     5/2017
This piece began as a demonstration quilt for Quilting with Sue Kaleidoscope classes. Kaleidoscoped hexagon blocks made from a Chong-A Hwang fabric remained on my design board longer than I care to recall. When its time had come to be completed, I combined some of those hexagon blocks with the complementary  Tree of Life panel expanding the tree’s design. Fussy cut unused hexagon blocks were appliqued to fill out the design and softened the edges of the panel. In my heart, this quilt’s journey had its ups and downs. I loved the hexagon blocks! I didn’t like how they alone came together. When I added them to the tree panel, it just felt right. Curving the lower corners and using two fabrics in the binding were the perfect way to finish this quilt. Now it ranks among my favorites.

Currently available for purchase.

I AM an Artisan

(60″ sq.)
Designed, pieced, embellished, and quilted by Sue Hickman     Berryville, VA     2/2017
I challenged myself to create a bright, bold, colorful quilt… which drove away any suggestion of ‘winter blues’. In February, when it was completed, I shared this glimpse of this piece…

Now that the challenge has ‘closed’ (6/2/17), I feel free to share with you “the rest of this story”…
By definition, I AM an Artisan! [Artisan: noun ar·ti·san \ˈär-tə-zən\: a person who makes things by using skill with the hands. ]
When Kaffe Fassett launched his “I Am An Artisan” quilt challenge January 2nd, I knew this was one challenge I HAD to do this year.
Here’s the description of this challenge, “Artisans start with thoughtfully chosen materials to create an item with inherent beauty and attention to detail and design. The focus of the I Am An Artisan juried exhibit is on quilts designed to showcase the harmony of color and texture. Each quilt will speak to a time when hand creation included dedication, appreciation, skill and love of the craft. It’s about simplicity, intention, approach, quality, and a sense of connection to a time when craftsmanship and artisanship were celebrated.”
I’ve long loved his various fabric lines! This Artisan line offered both blue and orange options. I chose the sunny, orange ones… bright and cheerful.  Inspiration hit me right off the bat and not long after my fabrics arrived, my 60″ x 60″ medallion quilt was done. Mine was the #5 quilt submitted.
From the silky hand of his fabrics, to creating my design, to finishing it off with just a touch of glass bead embellishments, it was a delight to make!
6-23-17 Update: I just received an email that said, in part,
“On behalf of the I Am An Artisan Challenge… thank you … Your participation is very much appreciated and your interpretation of the Artisan theme truly showed your dedication, appreciation, skill, and love for the craft and art of quilting.
We are pleased to inform you that your work, “I AM an ARTISAN,” was accepted for inclusion in the I Am An Artisan
Challenge exhibition.”
The exhibit will hang at the International Quilt Market , October 28 – 30, 2017 (a trade show, not open to the public), and then at the International Quilt Festival that follows it, November 2-5, 2017, in Houston, TX.
The email went on to say, “Narrowing the selection from the incredible variety of creative entries was a daunting task…”  I can only imagine!
I am speechless, and SO very honored!!!
Kaffe Fassett will be selecting the First prize and Honorable Mention winners at Quilt Market. Ribbons will be awarded at that time… The Viewer’s Choice will be determined by physical votes at Quilt Market and through FreeSpirit social media activity during Market.”
The QuiltsInc Quilt Festival Houston website notes, regarding this exhibit, “Kaffe Fassett is the undisputed genius of color. Now, his decades of experience from his work in painting, knitting, needle arts, and patchwork come together in his newest collection of fabrics called Artisan. This special exhibit features 12 juried quilts showcasing the new line.”
To read more about this quilt, click here.

My Poulsbo Avignon

(30″ Sq.)
Pieced and quilted by Sue Hickman     Berryville, VA     1/2017
On a trip to the greater Seattle, WA area in the summer of 2016, I found a sweet quilt shop in Poulsbo. This was one of the owner’s (Beatrice Marx) design (‘Avignon’). I loved its Scandinavian flair.

Artist’s Private Collection

Appeeling Primaries

( 50″ x 40″ )
Appliqued, pieced, and quilted by Sue Hickman     Berryville, VA     1/2017
A timeless classic, these scrappy (orange) peels are bright and cheerful.

Donated to a teen mom and her young child through Young Life’s 2018 Young-Lives camp in Virginia.

Appeeling Pastels

( 50″ x 40″ )
Appliqued, pieced, and quilted by Sue Hickman     Berryville,VA     1/2017
I began creating a plethora of peels, but when laying them out/putting them together they seemed to want to separate into two baby/lap/wall quilts, and the results speak for themselves. These are soft and soothing.

Owned by Brittany and Sam Hurley of Benbrook, TX