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Artist Advent Calendar : Candy Glendening from Redlands, California

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Meet Candy Glendening, a textile artist and art quilter who continually amazes me with her productivity and energy. She writes articles, makes quilting DVDs, teaches online and offline, makes a wide variety of textile arts using fabrics she dyes herself - and the list goes on. Candy was so kind to share some of her holiday projects and her famous molasses Christmas cookie recipe with us today!

I am delighted that Stephanie asked me to share a bit about what the holidays mean to me. I absolutely love Christmas, and I always have – my family called me Candy Claus growing up! The colors, the smells, the making of the perfect gift and baking lots of cookies; they all thrill me!

As an art quilter, I’ve always worked in 3 dimensions, because a quilt is by definition 3 dimensions, but art quilts hung on a wall read like most 2-dimensional art. One of the ideas that I love to explore is how to make fabric truly 3 dimensional. One way I did that a couple of years ago was to make several series of Christmas ornaments in the shapes of Mid Century Modern houses:

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I really, REALLY love these houses. Working this way really helps define the constraints that I find work well for my artistic process: I dye a particular color that I’ve been obsessed with, and dye other colors to create a limited palette, combining those colors in various configurations and using smaller pieces (the individual houses) to create a larger composition (a village).

Those villages I had fun creating from those individual led me to create my holiday row houses:

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Placed on a mantle with twinkle lights behind them, they completely represent home at the end of a long journey to me, which of course is quintessential Christmas!

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Once I had my mantelpiece adorned with my row houses, I really wanted to make some quirky, fun Christmas stockings. Again, although each stocking stands by itself, I love observing the interactions of colors and shapes when combining multiples of them:

Combining the retro feel of my mod houses with the felted wool balls on the stockings gave me a great idea on how to decorate a tree:

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retro ornaments and garlands of the felt balls. 

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Although several years in the making, these all complete a vision that I’ve been developing, one piece at a time…and it’s not done! I’d like to make a larger art quilt that focusses on the retro ornaments to hang over the fireplace – but that’s probably going to happen next holiday season!

While putting this post together, it was so fun to see how these particular pieces have grown from one another. I think they represent some of my better work and have been lucky to share them with lots of fellow art quilters. I publish articles often with Quilting Arts, and am honored that they’ve chosen all three of these works to grace the covers of the last 2 issues Quilting Arts Gifts, and the cover of the DVD of Quilting Arts TV, series 700.

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If it’s Christmas time, then there’s got to be cookies, lots of cookies! Every year my family bakes lots of different Christmas cookies, and these molasses crinkles are Santa’s favorite! (Really! A few years ago my younger son Logan made him a questionnaire with checkboxes and left it with the plate of cookies by the fireplace on Christmas Eve; and Santa chose the crinkles as his favorite. So although I may swap out other cookie recipes each holiday season, Logan will NOT let me NOT make molasses crinkles!)

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Molasses Crinkle Cookies

Ingredients

4 ½ cups all purpose flour
4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
4 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves
½  tsp. salt
2 cups brown sugar
  cups butter
2 eggs
½ cup molasses
turbinado sugar or pure cane washed sugar for rolling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Sift together flour, salt, spices and baking soda and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well blended. Add molasses and mix well.
  4. Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  5. Scoop up a rounded teaspoons of dough and roll it into a ball, and then roll it in the turbinado sugar to coat (you could use regular table sugar, but the large crystals of the turbinado sugar give these cookies an awesome crunch!)
  6. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet about 2 apart.
  7. Bake approximately 11 minutes or until slightly puffed and cracked on the surface. Cool on wire rack.

 

Makes 5-6 dozen cookies. Store what doesn’t get eaten in a tightly closing container and these will keep for days – make sure to leave some out for Santa!

Here’s a handy PDF version of the recipe if you’d like to print it out. 

Thanks so much Stephanie for letting me share how Christmas inspires me! If any of your readers would like to see more of my work, or share my love of color, I’d love to connect with them online.

Thank you Candy for your creative, colorful post! And I can't wait to try out your cookie recipe, thanks so much for sharing with us! xo

Be sure to visit Candy at her Candied Fabrics BlogCandied Fabrics Shop, and Online Dyeing Classes and get her latest updates on FacebookInstagramTwitter