Robin Ferrier – Art Quilts »

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It’s been a long time since I’ve been in this space, since I’ve even dreamed of creating something new, since I’ve had the energy or enthusiasm to dig within myself to transform an idea into something tangible.  I had become so involved with the Hana house, with the kids, with my own house… job… family… the weather… that I put creating aside and stopped thinking of making quilts entirely.  At work, my co-workers are in a way “creating” too, and the part of me that loves babies, keepsakes and that sweet time in life when children are young, compelled me to whip up these cheerful gems highlighting my current faves, tangerine orange and cobalt blue.  They are certainly not fancy in any way, not original, totally not my “art” but this type of work makes me happy and it quiets my mind.  IMG_0258

I leave you with studio shots of another quilt in progress.  Its another in my “Improv Baby Quilts” series, this one intended for a baby already born.  I have in mind the basic elements; it’s just that added something that I’m lacking.  I’ll come up with something… I always do.IMG_0242IMG_0247

I spent the night the other night at our house-in-progress in Hana.  It was simply divine; the room I slept on a foam mattress in our someday-livingroom.  I could hear the ocean pulsing on the shore, rain spattering outside and inside the temperature was cool enough that a simple sheet was all that was needed.

IMG_0227I delivered materials shipped from Kauai.  It was an oversight that this stuff got delivered to the wrong island and I was thankful it fit in the truck.  Pictured here is polycarbonate and soon it will be installed as roofing material over our screened lanai… or “porch” in Hawaiian.
IMG_7280You can see this lanai through these sliding doors.  Work is being done now to mosquito proof this area and we are all scratching our heads as far as the flooring is concerned.  Between those slats are spaces wide enough for creatures to get in.  I don’t mind the geckos but they are messy.  I haven’t seen ants or roaches (yet), and I really dislike mosquitos.  I’m sure someday we will come up with a workable solution. IMG_0217We recently had a little yard work done on the property.  The place looks like a mess now that the lawn is littered with logs and stumps.  Overtime however this too will have to be cleaned up. For now, at least we have a nice place to sit. IMG_0230I noticed the back side of the house is prone to mold.  There is a part of me that wants to avoid chemicals like bleach, but it might be that we will have to go there.  The house is still not secured to the footings and neither the footings to the cement below.  There are 53 footings and each one of them will need to be dealt with.  First the house gets jacked up ever so slightly, then the cement is marked after the footings are positioned well, holes are then drilled into the cement where the anchoring screws are to be placed, then the footings are repositioned, screwed down and secured to the post! Voila!  Easy peasy… right?!IMG_0231Construction clean-up has begun.  It’s a pitty to see all this wrapping material get tossed, but really, what else can be done with it?  The dump in Hana does not accept this type of refuse, so all this gets loaded on trucks headed for Kahului.  Modest attempts at burning and recycling are made when we can.  Anybody want to buy a container in Hana?
IMG_7271Many people have stopped by during the building process and commented on the progress.  It makes me feel good too to see how this is coming along, but at the same time I see all that needs to come.  This week the stairs are getting installed and the final walls are going up.  We are still weighing our options with regards to the roof.  I’m liking that we are able to take a little bit of a breather between phases so I can at least focus on something else for a while.  I’m reminded everyday how this is hurricane season, so really, we have no business slowing down now; better to get that roof on and locked down!  Maybe then I can shift my attention.

  • Kay SorensenJuly 13, 2016 - 11:46 am

    Wonder if you could put landscape cloth (li,e we use I dyer our mulch) under the floor boards on the lanai to keep out the mosquitos?

  • robinJuly 10, 2016 - 9:45 am

    OK, I’m game. Do you know of an essential oil that kills green moss/mold? I happen to have Eucalyptus oil… I’ll google it now! Thanks!

  • Eva Maria GassJuly 10, 2016 - 9:37 am

    Hi Robin, have you ever thought of turning that container into something beautiful like a studio, guestroom etc.? There are many beautiful examples for container houses on pinterest!

  • Paige AlexanderJuly 5, 2016 - 2:12 am

    Getting closer! Enjoying the progress!

  • LoriJuly 5, 2016 - 2:06 am

    Just beautiful! Why don’t you look into essential oils instead of bleach? We had a pipe burst in our home and the clean up company used Oil of Thyme instead of bleach or the other fungicides. It is healthier for you and the environment along with being very effective.

  • Cathy BertanzettiJuly 4, 2016 - 6:23 pm

    Simply beautiful.

On my coffee table these days are three books; “The Architect Says” compiled by Laura S. Dushkes, “Cloth Lullaby” by Amy Novesky and Isabelle Arsenault, and “‘Olelo No’eau” compiled by Mary Kawena Pukui.  These books, although vastly different in scope and structure, have their ways of speaking to me today.



I’m thinking about our visit to Hana earlier this week.  The structure is nearly built, the containers unloaded, and crates of roofing tiles dot our front yard.  It certainly has been a long and trying endeavor to build this house.  There were times along the way that we both felt overwhelmed and clueless.  Persistence and grit helped us find our way, uncertainty and belly-aching did not.  The end is in sight, or at least the place where we can pause is finally within reach.  Lately, I’m finding it easier to breathe. From the Architecture book, I’m inspired by the words of Tom Kundig when he said, “People who build their own home tend to be very courageous.  These people are curious about life. They’re thinking about what it means to live in a house, rather than just buying a commodity and making it work.”  From the “Cloth Lullaby” there is a passage which reads, “If you bash into the web of a spider, she doesn’t get mad.  She weaves and repairs it.” And finally, from the Hawaiian proverb book, I read, “Ua hall ka ho’oilo, ua malie,” or “Trouble is gone; peace now abides.”  So go these early days of summer. IMG_0186


  • VivienZepfJune 26, 2016 - 5:39 am

    The Hana House is looking great; what a peaceful retreat it be.

I’m thrilled to tell you that some of my students are now exhibiting Quilts they made in the current show at the Honolulu Museum of Art!  You may recall, last November I traveled to Oahu to teach two classes, “A Fine Line” and “Free the Block.”  I was pleased to see that not only did some of my students really take to this type of creating, but they even finished their pieces, binding and all!  I am ooh so proud!  If you are in the neighborhood, please stop by and view these beauties!  Cheers!


  • PennyMay 20, 2016 - 1:56 pm

    Wonderful quilts, Robs you certainly should be pleased! Hana house up date was, As well informative! Glad janey could pass on some good info.

Progress is being made almost weekly these days with regards to the project.  Our latest discussion involves the possibilities for electricity.  Do we go solar? Do we try to connect with the grid?  Each choice comes with a different set of problems, both equally complex and time consuming.  If we go the solar route, we can really only count on 4 hours of sunlight a day given the weather patterns, location and amount of jungle in this area.  This would obligate us to have a dependable battery or batteries to store unused power.  Tree trimming will be a must as well as having a generator backup if/when we encounter consecutive days of poor weather.  If we go solar, we might as well install a solar water heater, although, it’s my guess that might be overkill given that here in Hana one uses only tepid water to shower with since it’s so hot already.  Solar electricity would include the addition of propane for cooking and the dryer, which would involve a propane tank, a separate shed for the tank and some sort of maintenance plan to not only survey and troubleshoot the system when we are not out there, but also to refill the tank when it runs dry.  Since we don’t plan on living there full-time (for now), ease of maintenance is big on my list of priorities.

Connecting to the grid poses a different set of problems.  I spoke with the Maui Electric guy and he said we needed to put in a pole, if not two (the electricity out here is all above-ground), which would involve obtaining the necessary drawings, easement(s) and permit(s)… we need to find out if the road we are on belongs to the homeowners or if it’s a county road… I’m pretty sure it’s county, but not entirely sure… we need to decide if we want to run the wire from our new pole over or underground, and finally, we need to submit our plans, permits, drawings, necessary contracts to Maui Electric for review, which in all honesty only starts the conversation.  Frustrated, I asked him where to begin.  He advised we get a consultant but was unable to tell me how to get one. This unveiled a whole different set of questions.  How do I do that?  Search on Google for “maui, electricity, consultant?”  Craigslist?  How will I know if I’ve found one?  Will they have a special badge that says “I’m a consultant?”  Honestly, I could write a book on how mired in bureaucracy and complexity things are when it comes to building a house in Hawaii, which I’m sure is pretty similar in other parts of the U.S., maybe even the world all over for that matter.   The good news with regards to the electricity is that for the time being we are surviving with a simple generator.


In the fixture department, we’ve decided to go with this fan.  It’s called “Haiku” by Big Ass Fans. Yes, that’s their name.  What I like about it is how simple and sleek they look.  The blades are made of either coco or bamboo, depending on the color you want.  A bonus is that they are really efficient.


I found this fan and other fixtures at Valley Isle Lighting.  The guy I’m working with is the owner and he seems to really know his stuff. Of course he does, he owns the place.  In a process mired with a million decisions, he was able to not only understand what I was looking for, but also narrow down the option list for me so that my decision was easy.  Sometimes having a lot of choices is not a good thing.  If you are in the area, his name is Erik.

IMG_6819We visited Hana last weekend and were able to make a modest impact on the process.  We moved supplies to safer, less exposed places, cleaned up what little bit of construction mess there was, and started the process of lightly sanding and painting all exposed bolt ends on the base of the building.  Of course, being so close the ocean we have already taken a few precautions when it comes to rust like stainless steel hardware and obtaining end caps for these holes, however we figured it wouldn’t hurt for us to visually inspect each bolt and hit them with a shot of paint that protects the metal from rust.

IMG_6869IMG_6870It was nice to see our builder Levi, and spend a brief time with him by the campfire in the evening.  It’s clear that working in this remote area involves a change in lifestyle for him and his crew, like living in tents and cooking over an open fire, but so far they have all been gracious when discussing the sacrifices they have made.  Something tells me Hana has been a good thing for them.  At least I hope.  We are lucky to have them. IMG_6881The weekend we arrived, the community of Hana was hosting a “taro” festival.  I’ve blogged about it before; it’s an annual event in Hana, a largely Hawaiian community, that celebrates taro, the staple food of Hawaii.  This year, we missed the singing, dancing and food, but were delighted to find on Sunday the community hosted a special breakfast which featured taro pancakes and taro hash.  It was all delicious!  At the bay, people were organizing for the Olukai Ho’olaulea challenge or in other words a race of sailing canoes from Hana to Kahului.  What’s a sailing canoe, you ask?  Picture this; if an out-rigger canoe and a sailboat and a baby, this would be it.  It was such a treat to watch these colorful canoes paddling out the bay, sails waving in the breeze.


Finally, from the factory today is a picture of the kitchen as it stands.  On the island in front is a wood slab.  We asked them to make it “not perfect” and if you look, you will notice that smooth organic edge on the left has a slight curve to it.  The countertops will (hopefully) be changed to black and that sink will also be switched out as well.  The whole kit should be delivered sometime in June.HTP-1

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all these details.  It helps that I’m reasonably organized and I keep notes, papers and emails in their proper places, yet there are times when my mind feels like it’s going to explode from information overload.  Sometimes I grow weary of the process and want to quit.  I’ve learned that’s not an option, because leaving the project would be a disaster and I’m the only one who has the time, knowledge and energy to see it to completion.  Over the years, I’ve had dark moments with regards to finishing things that I’ve started and in the end I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way out is through tenacity.  I’m inspired by my children who continue to do well in school despite sometimes daily complaints that school is a drag.  I’m inspired by Jamey who for years continues to work hard in providing for us despite being faced with the frustrations of the work world. Finally, I’m inspired by the words of Calvin Coolidge when he said amongst other things, “The slogan “press on” has solved, and always will solve the problems of the human race.”  I have no choice but to press on.  This house  simply must be seen to fruition.  When it’s all over, I can relax.  When it’s all over we will at least have something to show for our troubles.

  • Janey HerreraMay 9, 2016 - 10:23 am

    Robin, check with the Custom Service Department or the Engineering Department at Maui Electric about your consultant concerns.
    We bought a Big Ass Fan- even here in Washington it gets hot enough to use it. We love ours!

I took a drive to Hana today.  There used to be a time when driving to and from Hana was a big deal, but these days I’ve grown used to it.   The structure is about halfway finished, it still has walls that need to be put up and two rooms that need to be added on, but oh, it looks amazing!  Whenever I get down about how long this process has been, how much mental and physical energy has been poured into it, how expensive it’s become and how much farther we have to go, all I have to do is come here and I’m cured.  There is a beauty and peace to this place that transcend everyday worries.IMG_0094

Someday, I imagine myself simply lying on the couch and staring at the ceiling.  The level of craftsmanship here is incredible, something woefully lacking in western made structures.


Here in Hana, workers leave small tools and hardware out with little concern for theft or vandalism.  Mind you, the neighbors have our backs, and are not shy about asking when they see someone new visit the place, however this is a safe community and I’m reasonably assured these small things are safe.   It makes me feel better to know that we will be spending our coming years in a sweet community such as this.


I met with the electrical contractor today.  It seems that providing electricity for this place is going to be yet another hurdle we will have to overcome.  Do we install solar and gas so we can stay off the grid, or do we have the county install a pole or two so that we can get connected?  And if we install solar, how do we do that on a tile roof?  And if we need poles, how many and how much will it cost?  I can already tell I’m about to begin an entirely new learning curve as I know absolutely nothing about how this all works.

On a simpler note, my guy and I discussed the placement of the lights.  Turns out on the plans, they wrote words which we don’t use here in America to describe the type of lighting they had in mind.  When asked what a hollow light was, I hadn’t a clue.  Thankfully, I have something to refer to; there are photos I have that will do a lot to help us.

IMG_0081This structure, built on the other side of the island, was the house we basically copied.  The main room is identical; the difference lies in the extra rooms we added on.  On the ledge that surrounds the interior, the owners installed lights that shine on the bamboo mat of the ceiling.  There are also lights on the ceiling fans and lights tucked in each corner.  My thought is to contact the owner and ask if I can visit his house in the evening so that I can see how well his lighting layout works for him.  I’m encouraged to know that hopefully I’ll be able to answer some of these questions with regards to electricity. IMG_1883IMG_1886IMG_1887

There is a screened porch or lanai (pronounced here), off to the back of the great room.  This room will border on being inside and outside as the screened walls will hopefully be enough to keep the mosquitos out, yet the wind will still pass through here freely.  I’ve always been a fan of string lighting and wonder if we could simply hang string lights instead of installing flood lights or sconces.  It certainly would cut costs and make things a little simpler, and the light cast from string lights are fitting for a breezy beach house.  What I have in mind is lovely.  I’ll ask my guy. IMG_0088


  • PaigeMay 6, 2016 - 4:42 pm

    Enjoy seeing these progress pics!

Our family recently took a trip to Whistler and Vancouver.  It was nice to be in a colder environment and see newly budded plants emerge.  It seemed to me a wonderful time of year to visit and I imagine it’s only going to get more beautiful as spring rolls in.  IMG_6464

The older I get the more interested I become in plants and our natural world.  I’m taking longer walks in the woods; preferring that to window shopping, fresh fruits and vegetables have become more of the norm while processed foods decline on my menu, and on the television, I find myself watching shows like “Life” and “Planet Earth” as opposed to those with senseless violence and crudeness.  Part of this evolution for me at least, involves a curiosity about dyeing with natural dyes.  My work with the Procion MX dyes is not over by any means, and trust me, I’m far from giving up that occasional cup cake, however I am interested in toning down my palate and working with less toxic chemicals.  So it was to my delight that I stumbled upon this store, Maiwa Handprints, in Vancouver that seemed to open up a whole new world for me!  Inside was a full range of natural dyes sitting so pretty and inviting on the shelves!  I was oh so pleased to pick up a “starter kit” as well as a kit on indigo dyeing.  I have every hope to come back to this place and attend a workshop with India Flint, a most amazing artist who I have been admiring for quite some time.  I hear it’s difficult to register for one of her classes so I’m going to simply put this out there with this request:

I formally ask the Universe, The One, Divine Energy, Sacred Beings, Guides and whoever else hears this simple plea for your assistance,

It is with every fiber of my being (no pun intended), I want to attend the India Flint workshop this fall in Vancouver.  I have felt the pull of this type of work for quite some time and ever since I first learned of her, I knew I was watching a kindred spirit.  I realize this will take effort in clearing my work schedule, finding appropriate care for all the beings that depend on me, collecting the money and materials needed for such a thing and finally gathering the physical, mental and creative energy to devote to such an endeavor, but these are all things I’ve managed before for other workshops, and I’ll do it again if I get the chance. In return I promise to work hard to prepare, to dive in with eyes wide open, and to bring with me an eagerness to learn.   I plan to use this information and incorporate it into my own way of approaching the cloth.  With this in place I’m sure to inspire others to work in this manor and hopefully the ripple effect of my attending will be felt by many, many others. My resolve is clear, my gratitude is certain.  So please, I ask for your assistance on getting this done… please do what you can to make it be.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you. -simply robin

** post note: I woke up this morning (the next day) and realized an annual event I help host every year is being held on that exact weekend.  Yikes!  Not to worry, my plea still stands, only with one small detail change… “I formally ask that space is provided for me to attend an India Flint workshop and that it is at a time that aligns nicely with my schedule  Thank you, simply robin”IMG_6476IMG_6470

I’ve been obsessed with those stars lately.  Today I started a little quilt and am working in a fashion new to me; I’ve cut squares out of colored fabric and will turn each one into a star.  There is a baby out there who is going to get a most unconventional baby quilt!IMG_0009

  • AnnaMarch 19, 2016 - 11:17 am

    Lucky baby! Beautiful art.

Today was the second day of my two-day Improv Baby Quilt class!  It was so much fun!  I’m thrilled that all of my students were able to come up with their own motif and I was able to teach them how to translate it into fabric.  They seemed to enjoy themselves as well and although none were able to finish, they left with a plan on how to resolve their quilts!  I was particularly touched that one of my students flew all the way from Seattle to take my class!  What an honor and surprise!  It was really nice seeing old friends and making new ones.  Plans are in the works for another class here on Maui and I’m thinking I’ll do this quarterly so that some sort of yearly routine can be established.  I feel like I have so much to offer as a teacher and my enthusiasm for quilt making is endless… it’s in my blood!  Please take a moment to scroll through these photos and see for yourself the sheer creativity contained in this space.  If you have any suggestions or requests, I’d love to hear them!

  • Gayle KushMarch 14, 2016 - 3:27 pm

    Wow! Those are all really great and it’s really womderful to see so many different design ideas too.

  • JulieAnnMarch 13, 2016 - 8:11 pm

    Looks like a fantastically fun two days. Wish I could be there!!!

  • DianeMarch 13, 2016 - 4:44 pm

    These are terrific! Wish I were closer.

In the mail yesterday I was thrilled to find a box FULL of goodies from the organizers of Quilt Con!  It my prize for winning the “click” game on the MQG app!

For those of you who don’t know, during the event, there was an app that served as basically an event guide.  On it there was all sorts of useful information which I accessed frequently… stuff like the schedule, a directory, maps, a list of exhibitors and sponsors… and there was even a game you could play!  Its called the “click” game and what you were supposed to do is go around and take photo’s of yourself doing various things.  Think scavenger hunt meets instagram.  Well, I had a blast with it!  If there ever were a groupie for Quilt Con, I was IT!  I went around like a crazy person taking photos!  It was fun to be silly and the game served as an ice breaker as I attended the conference alone!

One of the challenges was to shoot a photo of you eating with friends.  Since I didn’t know anybody, I braved it and simply sat down with a group of people explaining to them my mission!  Of course they were game and this nice lady shoved a box of food in front of me and instructed the cameraman to shoot!Here I am with my favorite item in the Patchwork threads booth:My very own magazine cover:The Kona Color of the year… seriously folks? Highlighter yellow?  Even the name is uninspiring!  Come on Kona peeps!!!  Next year put a little jazz into your color choice!Volunteering at Quilt Con, which I recommend everybody does!  I had so much fun with this one!  People entering the event were so excited to go inside… I had a blast greeting them!Best handmade apparel spotted at Quilt Con; these jeans ROCKED!  I snapped this photo even before I found out it was a challenge.  Seriously, this girl had style!The tallest person… no, he wasn’t really that tall, I had fun with it by shrinking down. There were many more but I’ll end here with a shot of me at the Norhtcott lounge.  It was very impressive the effort put into some of these booths.  The whole event was a flood of eye-candy and inspiration.  I’m glad I went and participated in this challenge.  Having that package arrive yesterday was a thrill but really the prize for me was having a fun time, trying new things, meeting new people and simply taking it all in!  Thank you Quilt Con!

  • robinMarch 29, 2016 - 8:10 pm

    Yikes! I should have advertised it sooner. It would have been nice to meet someone there! I have no plans to go to Savannah, but Pasadena is a real possibility! Please, keep in touch! Thank you, Robin

  • Patty SimmonsMarch 29, 2016 - 5:34 pm

    I wish I had known you were at QuiltCon! I would have loved to meet you and had lunch! Maybe next year in Savannah?

  • robinMarch 13, 2016 - 8:00 am

    Thanks! The tag on the shoe says JBU and I think I got them from the Walking Company.

  • PaigeMarch 13, 2016 - 6:21 am

    Looks like you had a wonderful time! Thanks for sharing! (I would love to know more the shoes are are wearing in the last picture, they look so comfy!)

  • pattyMarch 11, 2016 - 4:12 am

    Glad you had a wonderful time! I went to Austin in Feb 2015 QuiltCon and was disappointed with the quality of the quilts exhibited. From what I have seen online there has been quite an improvement in the quality of the quilts for this show.

I was lucky enough to travel to Pasadena recently to attend Quilt Con 2016!  It’s been a really long time since I’ve been surrounded by quilters and their wonderful quilts and I’m so excited to share what I saw with you.  You will have to forgive me tho, I snapped pictures without minding the tags that accompanied them.  The result is I have many shots of eye-candy, but no idea who the maker was.  I had to do a bit of sleuthing when I got home to give credit where credit is due, but I think I’ve got a nice little cluster of quilts to show you!

I’ll start first with the Best of Show by Melissa Averinos, called “my brother’s jeans”
This quilt seemed to have it all: the improvisational piecing, the use of new and old materials, wide open negative space and a simple pattern that repeats and contrasts.  It’s quilted quite simply and it goes well with the motif.  I really liked how the the story informed every decision of the making of this quilt.  Making it best of show seemed to celebrate an aesthetic that I’ve come to love.It was exciting to see a special exhibit of Gwen Marston’s work.  I do love plain fields of color and shapes in different sizes. 

Of course it was fun to run into Malka of “A Stitch in Dye.”  We did some catching up! Her colors are even more impressive in person!And someone who lives close to me was at the show too!  Keri from Keri Designs!  It was great to see all those wonderful Charlie Harper Quilts!Am I forgiven if I don’t remember who these were by?  I just found them to be eye-catching and wanted to share:

  • PaigeMarch 1, 2016 - 2:44 am

    Thanks for sharing a glimpse of QuiltCon!