Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sugared Pears

Now there is glitter all over my sewing studio, but these pears were worth it.  I used a pattern by Jane Davila published in Quilting Arts Gifts magazine 2009-2010.  They're only eye candy--no calories!
Ho! Ho! Ho!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Felted Bag 9" x 10"

this dragonfly
has dyed his body

Continuing my love affair with all things fiber, I created this little bag to interpret the haiku above.  The front is a wet felted composition of unspun wool.  The dragonfly's body is a multi-colored ribbon knitted into an i-cord, as is the bag's strap.  The wings are made of Angelina and hand-stitched onto the wool.  For the back of the bag I used hand-dyed velveteen onto which I machine couched a variety of yarns.  My photographer (aka my DH) would comment that my pictures are fuzzy.  But in my defense, he's in South America at the moment, and I sure can't make a very sharp image of very fuzzy wool.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's all about yarn in Autumn

Just returned from a two week trip to Oregon and Washington looking for roads and sights we'd never travelled before.  Of course, Ansel A. (a.k.a. my photographer husband) knew where he wanted to go--the Steens Mts., the Painted Hills, and the Palouse.  All new to me, and we found glorious AUTUMN everywhere.

But of course, I could not travel without portable finger candy (a.k.a. knitting and crochet).  First I finished knitting the hand-dyed fuschia triangular scarf only to discover it was too small for my liking.  Oh darn--had to add a yarn store into the itinerary to find the blue yarn to keep going with it.
Project two, the blue and coral crochet, filled the many hours until we found that store.  But, yikes, I ran out of that yarn too.  Internet to the rescue.  I ordered more and had it shipped to a friend's house back home.  Project three, the gold/blue/fuschia scarf still on the needle, occupied the last long drive home.

In Sisters, OR I shopped at the famous Stitchin' Post Quilt Shop (Jean and Valori Wells).  Did I buy fabric?  Nooooo.  I headed straight to the yarn department and purchased more finger candy.  All that delicious color is displayed on an ivory wool blanket beautifully crocheted for me as a baby by my Great-Aunt Mame.  I plan to enlarge it with a more crochet in the earthy hues we enjoyed in the high deserts of the north.  Oh, it's hard to tear away from all these delicious fibers to go back to my sewing studio.  But there are roads to be traveled there as well.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Rocks in the Stream 12" x 39"

Its the rocks in its bed that make the stream sing. 
(C. Perkins)

Art-quilt wise I think I met the challenge pretty well.  With a Zen raked sand garden in mind, I glued plastic pebbles (from floral supply) to the quilted background.  I included a sound track of running water that can be accessed by using a SmartPhone to scan the little QR code sewn into the bottom.  Pretty nifty, eh?  Unfortunately I just don't have the computer chops to load that sound track onto this blog, so I hope your imagination can fill in.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Beach Stones 57"x58"

There are times when repetitive piecing, like meditation, soothes an aching heart.  Still, it seems, "stones" are a focus in my work.  Perhaps their gem-like solidity symbolizes the steadiness I need to weather a cascade of difficult personal changes.  I picture this quilt living in a room with a view of the Pacific, but until then I'll settle for the daydream.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Grand Canyon Sunrise 26"w x 39" h

The June 2013 issue of Sunset Magazine featured a photo by Thomas J. Story of sunrise over the Grand Canyon.  Using the stitch and flip method, I sewed one inch strips of fabric onto backing and batting, so it was really a quilt-as-you-go project.  I am quite pleased with the impressionistic results.
Now I'm keeping my eyes open for more scenes with colors that sing.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Solid Attempt 60" x 60" and Leaf Pods 44" x 59"

This is a tale of two seemingly unconnected quilts.  The 2013 challenge at my local quilt guild, Common Threads, was to create a quilt using only solid color fabrics.  So I pulled from my stash and purchased as many colors as I could, whacked at them freely, and sewed them into cheerfully wonky log cabin blocks.  Then my friend Grace needed a piece of equipment I no longer use, so I asked her to swap by quilting it on her new long arm machine.  Ha Ha!  "Solid Attempt" was ready for the challenge two weeks early.  Then I reread the was supposed to be finished entirely by me.  Crikey!

So back to the cutting table.  Along with thousands of other quilters, I am very attracted to the new "Modern Quilting" aesthetic.  I like the clean minimalist design approach.  "Leaf Pods" is my own composition, and I won Best Large Art Quilt in the challenge competition.  ("Solid Attempt" was demoted to the Show and Tell portion of the meeting, but it didn't seem to mind.)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Meditation Valley 33"h x 26"w

As a way to be calm and come to acceptance on my journey through grief, I have begun a morning meditation practice.  I have learned that of course my mind wanders in many directions during that time.  So I use my breath as a centering focus to bring me back to the present.  The colored segments of this quilt are like the myriad thoughts jostling for my attention.  The black and white segments in this quilt are a metaphor for that breathing.  Like any practice, some days are better than others.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Untitled 26"w x 33"w 2013

Usually I don't have any trouble titling my art quilts, but this one eludes me.  It was created in response to a challenge quote from Danny Kaye (who blessed my childhood with many many giggles).
"Life is a like a blank canvas.  Throw all the paint at it you can."  Oh yeah!  Throwing paint at fabric is one of my all time favorite parts of being a quilt artist.  Sure didn't take long for me to assemble a group of painted fabrics from the heaps hanging around my studio. Now what does it want to be called?
Last time I opened up to suggestions I got great ideas.  Anybody?

Friday, May 17, 2013

"If I Could Save Time in a Bottle" 32.5"w x 18"h

Sew Eclectic, my other artist group, is working from storyboards we each created to illustrate what inspires us.  In March I received my friend Barbara's board (above).  It is an assortment of mostly three dimensional ephemera all wrapped in cellophane.  At first I was reminded of the specimen boxes in which the late Victorians displayed collections of insects, shells, etc.  Then I thought the earbuds on the bamboo placemat looked like calligraphy.  But, as the deadline for my creation rapidly approached, I began to be reminded of my late father.   The cellophane wrapping of so much diverse stuff reminded me of his habit of picking up little bits and bobs and displaying them in bottles and jars all over his house.
So my quilt includes plastic "bottles" in which I have places loose bits like beads, threads, shells, coins, charms, etc.  There seems no better title for it than Jim Croce's haunting lyric.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Market Woman, West Africa (small and smaller)

If my memory serves me well, my Market Woman of West Africa first entered my artistic life as a silkscreened Christmas card sometime in the late 70s.  Recently she reappeared when I used her as a focal point for a wall quilt.  But she's been hanging around over the last month.  So the top image here shows how I used her for my 12 by 12 inch donation to the SAQA 2013 Benefit Auction.

Then a couple of weeks ago, Anna, a fellow artist and friend, reconnected me with another favorite medium from the 70s--carved block printing.  So here's my market woman now carved on Speedball rubber and printed on a scrap of fabric I silkscreened back in those same 70s.  She's on her way to destinations in Europe, Canada, and the U.S. as a postcard for Postmark'd Art.  

Unlike me, my Market Woman hasn't aged a day since she made her first appearance.  Please consider her an early Happy Mother's Day greeting to all the moms who might enjoy her.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Stone Bowl Tipped 19"L x 8"H x 13"W 2013

"We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled.  The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out."  Ray Bradbury
This quote was the inspiration for our latest Loose Threads project, and I immediately envisioned a three dimensional vessel.  So I interpreted the quote literally with stuffed fabric "stones" spilling from a stitched bowl.  A sort of metaphor for all the stones emerging in my work over the last months.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lady of West Africa 30"x40"

Sew Eclectic is the title of an art quilt group to which I am honored to belong.  This year we are challenging each other to create new pieces inspired by "storyboards."  Each participant made a board covered with images, colors, fragments, and text that represent our personal tastes.  In January we exchanged boards for the first time and I drew the board you see on top made by my friend Charlotte.
Not afraid of color, is she?

Below is my art quilt inspired by Charlotte's storyboard.  Over forty years ago, I went off to Liberia, West Africa to be a Peace Corps volunteer.  I lived there for five years, collecting my dear husband, assorted artifacts, and lots and lots of fabric.  We called it tie dye back then, but what those clever African dyers were creating was intricate shibori.  The indigo blue, orange and green, and gray pieces are from Liberia.  The image of the lady I created back then for a silkscreen project, but here I fused and appliqued it.  The only bit that's recent are the "stones" which I painted with DeColourants on black cotton.  If I can push myself, there should be many more "African" quilts in my future because I have boxes and boxes of wonderful fabrics from that continent.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I belong to an international online swapping group called Postmark'd Art and for the current round of trading, I signed up for the themes Houses, Maps, and Trees.  My houses were created from rubber stamps that I purchased in San Francisco.  However, the houses only stamped as shapes onto my hand dyed fabric, so I used variegated thread to outline them.  Kind of gives them a 60's vibe, which is when I last lived in SF.  I call this card "Foggy Day by the Bay."

For my map cards, again I tried to use a rubber stamp, but the details of the historical map wouldn't print.  Then I had an epiphany....I photocopied the top of the stamp onto fabric and it worked like a charm, even giving the image a sepia tone appropriate to the historical look of the map.  Then I stitched the land and sea routes of the ancient Silk Road, and added gold paint to the silk edges.  I titled this card
"Greetings from the Silk Road."

Finally for my card titled "Midnight in the Walnuts" I applied silver paint through a stencil of tree branches to a background of irridescent indigo organza.  I placed a blue moon behind the organza, and added a bit of free motion stitching in silver thread.  I really get a kick out of mailing my cards to faraway places like Denmark, Canada, and Australia.  Even more fun was receiving houses, trees, and maps from fellow artists scattered about the world.  If you check out the website linked above, you can see more work from the artists in the group.

Finally for my trees cards

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sticks and Stones 77" x 15" 2013

My obsession with stones knows no bounds.  The latest theme challenge from my Loose Threads group was "sticks and stones."  Well.  The background had been hanging around my design wall for months, so all I had to do was applique some stones and now I have a river on my dining room table.

Our next theme challenge is a quote from Ray Bradbury.  "We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled.  The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out."

I think my buddies forgot I also have a thing for tea bowls.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Stone Bowls 10" 2012

 So stitching appliqued "stones" has taken on a life of its own, as I still seek comfort from the meditatively slow process.  Any small scrap of fabric that looks like a piece of earth I cut into a pebble shape.  Next to my favorite chair I keep a basket of "pebbles" and small background squares, gray thread, needle, and scissors.  Sometimes all I want to do is quietly needle turn the little ovoids as if making "stones" will eventually heal me.  These bowls are a departure from the squares.  Again, like the squares, they keep coming.  If there is some symbolism to this pursuit, it eludes me.