Friday, December 19, 2008

She Made Me Do It!

You're probably wondering, "Why is there a picture of an Olfa mat? I've seen one before." Well, this is one I haven't seen completely since I don't know when. The material and fabric had migrated onto the mat from the rest of my "work table" (a ping-pong table) and only a small portion was visible and usable. I finally decided to square up a project or two and needed space. As I hobbled around the basement, one thing led to another, and I managed to throw out, reorganize, and thus uncover the whole mat plus a smaller one.

In the grand scheme of things, i.e., my studio, this is a drop in the bucket. When I told my friend Rayna, who is a much more regular blogger than I am, what I had done, she said, "But you have to blog!" As you know, I usually allow at least a month or so to pass between postings, but "She Made Me Do It"!

Cleaning up my whole studio space is a New Year's resolution I've managed to avoid for many years, but maybe it's time. Maybe not, because this minor clean-up proved, once again, my trust in what A.A. Milne said, "One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries." Although I think there is order to my disorder, I, indeed, found this piece which I had totally forgotten about, and it turns out to be the second in a series within a series. I have marked it and am happily embroidering it as I rest my weary knee. Just the thing!

Monday, November 24, 2008

After the Fall

Ah, the irony! Just as I began to increase my walking, on the day after I last posted, I failed to pay enough attention to the notoriously uneven sidewalks of my town. Down I went. A long story short: my left knee is on the mend. Nothing was broken, but general repairs included two hospital stays. Ugh. I am SO over this and want to get back to fun. The flowers pictured above were sent to me by my art group Studio Six, and they were just gorgeous.

This is one of three pieces in my series I'm calling Celestial Navigation. (Ignore the background bits.) Unfortunately I didn't get around to basting any of them before I fell, so the only handwork I had ready while I was incapacitated was hexagons. Don't ask. If I ever make enough hexagons to put together into something, I've already titled it Hexagony.

This is a detail of the above piece. I hope to move forward on this and the other two in the not-too-distant future. I've also been tagged and plan to address that in the next couple weeks, now that I can get to the third floor computer.

In the meantime, I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Walking Around the Neighborhood

Maybe because it's the time of year and the days are (finally) getting colder, that I remember all the new year's resolutions I didn't keep. So I've been doing more walking--with the little dog--around the neighborhood lately. They aren't very long walks at this point and at least the dog starts panting before I do. As the leaves begin to turn and fall, I revel in the intensity of the strong afternoon sun as it highlights the gorgeous colors that surround me. I love the crunch of the leaves as we walk through them, although the dog's coat and his nearness to the ground seem to vacuum them up.

This is my favorite little uphill part of the walk. I've been watching the top of this tree gradually change color from one little tip of red.

And here was a surprise at the bottom of one of the larger trees along the way. I thought it was incredible when I first saw it, but always forgot to take my camera along. It was beautiful at first and I was regretting I had no picture then, but it has gotten even more beautiful as it deteriorates and leaves begin to cover it.

On a quilt-related note, some of you may remember the red blob piece from this blog way back in November 2007. It is now finished and entitled Orbit. I didn't post it sooner as it was one of my entries into Quilt National. As I didn't get in, I can now share it with you. I have to apologize for the color, however. For some reason the post to the blog makes it more brown than it actually is; it really has a brighter, slightly redder tone.

Here's a detail. I'm still in love with the embroidery stitch I've been using and seem to be stitching circles on everything lately. I have three more pieces in the Navigation series to baste and quilt, but it's the basting part that I really dislike. Even listening to the music shuffle on my iPod isn't much help getting through it. Here's hoping I move forward.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I Got It Done!

I hope you haven't been holding your breath since my last posting. It's been way too long for that!

I did make the deadline and here is the result. It's called Navigation and is part of a Fiber Revolution exhibit to be shown first at the South African Quilt Festival and then in Gabarone, Botswana.

In this detail shot you can see the embroidery. It's an almost whole cloth quilt: I've been trying hard to work with whole cloth composition, but can't seem to resist adding those little squares, even though there are only three on this piece.

Fiber Revolution is an online group of East Coast-ish SAQA members I belong to.

This postcard shows the work that will be exhibited in Africa.

We're pretty excited about this. I'm happy that my work--if not myself--will be on the same continent as my daughter who is into her second year in the Peace Corps in The Gambia.
As others have said before, my quilts travel more than I do!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

Whether it's digital or film, sometimes the images just stay in the camera too long! In May, over Memorial Day weekend, we went up to Rochester, New York, to see my youngest--of three--graduate from RIT. While there we visited a wonderful state park built by the Civilian Conservation Corps on the shore of Lake Erie. It was a beautiful but slightly chilly and windy day.

There were great rocks along the shore. There were only a couple like this. I just love the texture, but have no idea what kind of rock it is.

So here we are, one glad to have finished and one glad to have paid the last tuition installment. The other one--my husband--is taking this shot. He's glad, too.

The weather in general has been pretty variable in late spring and summer. In June this large branch came down in the nighttime. Of course the irony is that we had just had the tree trimmed so that it wouldn't bring down the power lines in bad weather. But--you guessed it--not only did it fill half the backyard and crush some of the fence and some of my clematis, it also ripped out the power and phone lines. We weren't the only ones to have trouble and, compared to other residents, damage was minor. The clematis is no worse for wear and the branch just caught the edge of our roof. Being without power in hot weather isn't fun, but we managed. I even sat on the front porch and embroidered.

This is a piece I have been working on for a few months. It started with a grid and blobs, then I screened in the circles. It really should be rotated once counter clockwise for its true orientation, but this is how I had to work on it on the space available. So tilt your head to the right and look at it.

Then I just screened in some darker blue. Don't forget to tilt your head. (Sorry about that. I didn't plan ahead by rotating the image before I uploaded to Blogger.)

And here is part of it now. You can see that the circles and the blue washed out to be lighter. Then I screened in the reddish circles, but only three. I added small squares of commercial fabric in the reddish circles, so it won't be whole cloth unfortunately. I have been working hard on the concept and execution of whole cloth and it has been a challenge. I have also embroidered golden lines from circle to circle. Now I just have to baste it and quilt it. The question is: can I get it done in three weeks for a deadline? Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Little Shibori

In early April, I went to the Breaking New Ground Symposium co-sponsored by the Surface Design Association and Studio Art Quilts Associates. I saw new friends and old, went to the opening of the Elements exhibition, attended several thought-provoking sessions, went on a tour of galleries and Philadelphia University, and was lucky enough to take a shibori class with Jan Myers-Newbury.

This is a sink in the Wayne Art Center's restroom. Just love the grid!

This is some of the silk-screen storage in a workroom at Philadelphia University. If only I had that much space!

Here I am stirring the dye buckets in the shibori class.

These are my first results. I am so happy!

Three days of dyeing and this is a sample of my results. (Except for the tan and blue piece in the middle, which is by Judy Langille and is not shibori.) I learned a lot in this class. Jan is a great teacher: in addition to the shibori, I learned to NOT use paper towels to clean up. And I'm also reusing the plastic for batching.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Yes, I Have Been Busy

Yes, I have been busy, but I can't believe it's almost two months since my last blog. Yikes! Daffodils have come and gone, the clematis has been chopped back again, and the azaleas are starting to pop.

This little gazebo is on the property of the Smoketown Motor Lodge where I stayed for my annual visit to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and the Quilters Heritage Celebration at the end of March. My friends and I ate at all our usual favorite spots and bought fabric at all our favorite shops. Saw some incredible quilts and caught up on the latest merchandising. Our trip always ends too soon!

This is a shot of my four pieces in the Studio Six exhibit at the Mikail Zakin Gallery in Demarest, New Jersey. The exhibit space was light and airy, and all the work looked great. Thanks to all who came to visit!

This is a little closer view of three pieces: the one on the left, "Why She Cried," has sold! I'm very excited, but still experiencing some separation anxiety.

Of course there's more to blog about, including the Breaking New Ground SDA/SAQA conference in Wayne, Pennsylvania, but I'll save that for next time. Stay tuned for some shibori, too.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Studio Six Show

My critique group, Studio Six, is having a show at the Mikhail Zakin Gallery in Demarest, NJ, with an opening this coming Saturday from 2 to 4 pm. I'd love to see you! It's about 20 minutes east from Exit 168 of the Garden State Parkway. If you're in the neighborhood on Saturday, or any other time, please stop by. It should be a great show.

Visit for directions or further information.
To see works by the following artists, visit their websites:
Rachel Cochran:
Rayna Gillman:
Joanie San Chirico:
Diane Savona:
Joan Dreyer:

Saturday, February 23, 2008

It Finally Snowed

I knew we were due for a big snowfall at some point, and on Friday it finally came. All day. I think we got about 5 inches or so. But like all the other snowfalls, it ended with sleet/rain to give it that nice dangerous glaze of ice.
So now the dog can walk on it, as he's not fond of walking in it, as you can see. But the trees certainly do look beautiful.

On Monday I was able to do some dyeing. Here is a piece from last summer that needed more oomph, so I used freezer paper circles as a resist and then screen printed.
It was looking pretty good when I took the freezer paper off, and then, of course, I had to wash it.
Here it is after washing. (Once again, ignore the background. You know my design wall is treacherous.) This is pretty true to color and still seems a bit light to me, so now I'm trying out small squares that I might fuse on, although I am really trying to work "whole cloth." I'm planning to embroider some large circles--maybe orange--but I'm not sure that will be enough. Maybe I should screen on some dark circles when I have workshop space in a couple weeks.
Here is a detail. What do you think? Does it need more color? Let me know.
It also needs a name. Hmmm. . .some pieces are easier than others.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Good Dog

Our experiences make us what we are and, I believe, what our art is. One of my most difficult experiences was the decision I made six weeks ago concerning my beautiful English Springer Spaniel Missy. Just before Christmas she was diagnosed with cancer and within three weeks it was significantly worse. She was fourteen years old and had given and received much love and joy. She loved swimming in this Michigan lake where we go every summer, and she always insisted on having her own beach chair.

A couple of years ago I made this small wall hanging, which shows Missy with her "brother" Justin, the Shih-Tzu, who does not like swimming in the lake. He was with her at the end, and we all miss her.

Has It Been Two Months?

I can't believe it's been more than two months since I last posted. My friends tell me they are sick and tired of looking at those pumpkins. So let's see if there's another image I can burn into their brains .

I found this tea just before the holidays. Despite the smiling snowman, the name described exactly how I was feeling: snappish. Too much to do, etc., etc. However, the holidays turned out just fine, I mellowed, and now I'm worried that I only have two boxes of this tea left until next Christmas because I really like it out of all the ginger ones I've tried.

As to what I've been up to besides decking the halls, etc., I hope you remember my "red blob" piece from previous posts. (Yes, you can go back and check if you don't.) I finally beat those blobs into submission and they have metamorphosed into pomegranates (I think). Here it is, ready for basting. Now I am in the quilting stage and am quite pleased with how things are going.

And here's a close-up that shows the many layers of dyeing and printing, and the embroidery.

I'm still waiting for a snow day, but I'd better be careful what I ask for. We haven't had that much snow yet. Who knows what February will bring?