Thursday, October 1, 2009

This Summer has been busy.
A new irrigation system was installed just before the rainy season...
I gave a presentation of my work to Uncommon Threads, my quilt guild in Memphis (actually Germantown) and as Challenge Chairperson I gave a class for all participants of the challenge.

Amidst all this a few friends and I got together and dyed fabric. Twenty two yards is what I dyed that Saturday.
Pictured at right is Marge laying her purple graduations out to rinse on Arlene's awesome rinsing rack! What an ingenious way to rinse.

One thing new I tried was a 'parfait' from Ann Johnston's book "Color by Accident"
This parfait was done with first one yard of fabric in a bucket with red dye then a second yard and blue and finally a third yard and more red. Each colour sat for twenty minutes before the next was added and no stirring occurred until the end producing mottled and varied cloths.
I took those three fabrics along with white and made a quilt for Quilts of Valor. They give quilts to all returning service men and women.
Check out their website

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Here is the second figure that I made in our class with California 3D Quilt Artist Susan Else. She (figure) in only pinned together at limbs right now -- going to play with her gesture a little before committing to a pose...

Here are the creatures we made... (from left to right) my little mole guy, Jodi's green horned creature, Christopher's dragalope and Susan's creature melding into the background at right...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I recently attended Quilt National at the Dairy Barn in Athens Ohio. The trip overall was terrific. The whole point was to see Quilt National before it closed. I am so glad I went. Here are some links to artist work I saw and was inspired by. These few pieces out of the whole lot of awesome work spoke to me in a very particular manner about my work...
Leisa Rick has a beautiful piece, "My House Is Built On Sand" whose playfulness and line drawing was very cool.
Marianne Burr, "Spin Out". I had seen her work on the cover of American Style Magazine and was captivated. Seeing this work in person made me pause. The dense hand work used to make this piece -- it was humbling. And yet the impact had nothing to do with that, rather just the sheer beauty of the movement and shapes, especially the rhythm created by the repeated stitches.
Nelda Warketin, "Meadow Pine". I am captivated by images superimposed upon each other. Her use of materials, thread and paint created a subtly undulating surface of layers to be seen through.
Inge Hueber takes the quilt inside out with her "High Tide/Low Tide -- Broadstairs, Kent 1". With seams meticulously created and put on display on the exterior front of the quilt her colour work not only recreates her experience of a place and time, but placement of those colours create a movement reminiscent of tides coming and going.
Mary Louise Learned, "Street Dance" at a distance has movement you would expect from a piece with a title about dance. Upon closer inspection however a whole world of texture opens up. The lines are given feeling with wool roving, or wool before it is spun into yarn. The surface is a riot of textures that begs to be stroked and experienced (yet alas there is not touching the art!).
Margery Goodall's quartet, "Earth Suite: Saltland, Pindan, Dune, Fire Ash" created with tiny pieces cut from pieced fabrics sewn into stripes with mottled yet solid fabrics create these sparkling surfaces that compel you to look closer. Stunning.
Daphne Taylor's "Quilt Drawing #9" was the simplest most elegant thing... A lithe sinuous line of black slicing through a cream silk surface with tiny black stitched lines placed so close to one another as to create a block. Emerging from under the block is a mass of flowing cream lines dancing out from behind the grid. So simple yet so beautiful.
Lastly there was Kathy York whose piece "Little Fish in a Big City" was brilliant and poignant. A statement about dependance on the oceans and out need to protect them still has a sense of humor and great visual interest from little geometrics quilted into the indigo ocean to the 3D buildings and fish taxis.
All told the biggest lesson learned is seeing in person is vital. I have seen images of some of these featured artists work. Despite the deftness of the photographer the subtle nature of a quilt is diminished. Standing in front of them was something magical and inspiring. Definitely worth the drive!
Another note -- sorry for the lack of images, but these are working artists and their images are their property. I did not aquire permission to use them here so I did not. Please respect others and get their permission before pirating images from books or on-line. Thanks

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Listening is something that anyone would argue they do. Most people listening to them argue would probably say the speaker does not listen. Indeed most of us do not have the experience of being listened to.
Yesterday I posted on Craigslist to advertise a class I am hosting. On all of their postings the viewer sees a statement about not contacting the posting part for solicitation. What sit he first response to my listing? You guessed correctly: solicitation.
Now you might be thinking to yourself, "But if he is listing there he should expect that!"
Sure I will give you that. And what about other places and occasions? How often do you speak to a customer service person and all you hear them saying in response to your claim is they are sorry and can do nothing. This is because they are not really listening to you. They hear every word you say, but more often than not they are concerned about what is happening in their life not about your issue.
More frequently the people in our lives don't experience being listened to because we listen through our history of them. When I ask a friend how they are I already know that they are having aches and pains and a rough day because that is how they are. So when one day they are excited about something I miss it because I know they are miserable.
If I expect to be listened to I need to practice listening.
Who have you not listened to today?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Colour is an amazing thing. It can also be a tricky thing.
That would be why we study colour.
I have begun a program at City and Guilds (on line). It is a certificate programme in 'Patchwork and Quilting'. This course is headed by the Kemshalls, Linda and Laura. Check them out at
One of the exercises in the first unit is collecting items in a similar colourway.

There are plenty of natural greens, but other than grass and trees other hues are challenging to find.

Yellows tend to be light so I used creative licence and moved into the golds and oranges.


This is a great colour that has a bad rap!


Great practise for composition.

This was a great exercise. Fun to execute and learned a lot!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Let there be light!

Some days are more illuminating than others.
Today it one of those days.
I have nice ceiling fans with light kits. They provide a nice about of light, but there are areas. One such area is my ironing station. a while ago I covered a banquet table with canvas and batting (thanks Sharon
It is awesome having a 30 x 60 space rather than a small ironing board -- well you can imagine!
The light however could be better. Where I stand the light is behind me and I cast a shadow on the surface.
What to do?
I looked for track fixtures that plug in, I've seen them on line, but not in stores.
Then it dawned on me. I have a half dozen clip lights that I used in my studio in Miami now living in a box.
Today I took a simple and inexpensive ceiling hook, installed above the dark area and voila, LIGHT!
There are four lights illuminating the ironing surface, my cutting table and each end of my HandiQuilter.
Another trip to the hardware store and I will have more light on my drafting table, serger and sewing machine.
Can't wait!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What the...

Are you as amazed as I at the lack of vision and myopic nature of corporate business today? In the wake of the financial crisis it seems that too many are scrambling to keep up just because the NEWS says things are bad.
I was in Krogers this morning: my local grocery store, a chain from Cincinnati, Ohio. I have been a Kroger Shopper for many years when I lived in Memphis. Now in Somerville I have found this store to be great. Wonderful selections, whole food section, quality bakery and florist, great customer service.
That is until recently...
Walmart moved in less than a mile away. In the past couple of week I have noticed changes. Things that appear as if Kroger is competing with Walmart.
What is absurd is the idea that they are on equal enough footing to compete. Walmart is the huge discount store that competes with NO ONE. They bully vendors into lower and lower prices so their profit margins are high. Not to mention pushing out competitors. Krogers remains a large grocer whos focus has always been providing the local communities with food stuffs and sundry items.
Now they seem bent on matching the prices and quality of the big retailer and are sacrificing the customer in the process.
I will spend a few cents more to have the quality I desire and the customer service I expect.
So don't sell yourself short -- too many do that and then you are left with only one alternative...
Shopping at Walmart!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Kemshalls are a brilliant mother and daughter team who create great art, specializing in fiber, write books and have an on line degree programme. I have just enrolled in their class on Patchwork and Quilting for City and Guilds.

One of the first assignments is a paper about colour.

I love colour -- of course I am an artist!

I am fascinated by how colours interact with each other. So I have taken a piece I did a couple of years ago and photographed it on several different backgrounds.

Primarily made up of blue and green fabrics with orange threads I wondered how would it appear is different settings?

On white (top picture)

On soft Blue and tan print (second)

On a blue, green and tan batik (third)

And finally on a soft red and cream check (last)

How do you perceive them differently? Some backgrounds blend into the quilt more while others stand out and detract. Interesting which does what!

The implications are interesting... what colour have you painted and does it really set off your art, that rug?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Trees are an important part of modern living. We use them for shade, for protection, to beautify. We cut them down for timber as well as for paper -- even if we are doing this less and "being green".
I have been on a mission to eradicate junk mail from my mail box: those extra catalogues I receive after ordering one thing two years ago, or mail still coming for the previous owners. Not only saving trees, but also company resources...
I have been amazed at the difficulties associated with getting off a mailing list. I have contacted AT&T a dozen times to get off their mailing list after firing them as a phone carrier and Internet provider eight months ago.. Perhaps this last call dealing with a supervisor will have done the trick.
Funny that I left because of not feeling appreciated as a customer and when I communicated I don't want their mail they don't seem to care or perhaps are not competent to do so. Maybe the confirmation code for cancellation will mean something. YA THINK?!
More paper is coming from the insurance companies and medical labs. I just opened an envelope from the insurance company with four sheets of paper. Each page was a separate "Explanation of Benefits from two providers on the same date. Three of those pages contained a single line from the same provider. (Did I mention everything else on the page was identical?)
That provider happens to be a lab that creates a different customer ID for every transaction. That seems logical doesn't it?
So perhaps in an effort to heal our Medical System's problems we will address the billing and paper trail. Or perhaps just eliminate the insurance companies all together... that would save some trees!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Just a few weeks ago I attended Nancy Crow's class "Improvisations: Let's Experiment". It was a two week class at her Timber Frame Barn in Ohio. An awesome experience to be had by all! Make the opportunity and GO!

During the class we used several different methods of construction and composition...

This Black and white was the first of it's kind.

Nancy uses black and white as it's high contrast more easily creates figure/ground.

This second piece is multi-coloured; blue greys and red-violets.

Here the figure is the lightest grey (appears white on the screen).

At home I began this composition in blues and greens. The lightest green (appears grey) is the figure although it is not a clear one. Somehow it must be resolved...

And finally when I was composing the 'Opposites Attract' challenge I made strip sets that ultimately I did not use. This weekend I got them out and pulled them into a composition. Quite a departure from the solid colours and languid lines of the other pieces here, but I think a similar light. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Finally DOing IT!

How exciting is the moment you ACTUALLY do what you have dreamed of?
I have owned a HandiQuilter for three years (purchased at Quilt Show by the Sea 2006)-- the purchase was made to draw with my needle. It sat in my studio for a while jut taking up space... then in a box. Last summer I pulled it out and purchased the table, FINALLY!
This year I have committed to learn to use it or to get it out of my studio (it's large!).
So far this year I have quilted five lap quilts. Utilitarian in nature to get my feet wet and learn some basics about my machine...
Well I decided enough was enough and have started a drawing... (Based on current drawings from Contemporary Realist Academy)

So here she is in process... to the right, on top, is a slide show of the process of creating the head (really just her hair).
What fun!

Please let me know what you think!

Friday, February 13, 2009

There are only so many colours.
Or are there?
When I returned to the Contemporary Realist Academy for this winter session my focus was colour. (Is we are half way through.) So I set out doing Colour Studies. That is to say a 'sketch' where the primary focus is colour. So no drawing is done (the form is represented, but there is no effort to make the form accurate -- note the disproportionate arm on the right on the first example versus the third) only an effort to find colour.
This is a useful step (a) to learn to mix colour, especially in oil, and (b) to learn to see colour (the colour that is actually there, not the colour you think it is...).

So the first example is in oil -- my first attempt. It is crudely drawn (as this is not the point) and that ended up being my biggest headache. I was quickly reminded of why I am not in love with painting -- finding colour!Second I used coloured pencil, Prismacolor brand.
A note... the first example in oil is not well photographed. There is shine impacting the image you see. This example is grainy. So I am not a professional photographer. Here is proof!
Third is Tsudeneko Permanent Inks on cotton fabric.
This was exciting. working from life, not a photograph, and creating realism on fabric.
If only it were larger it could be quilted! Alas this image is about 9 inches each direction. Though now that I have done it once I see that I could do it again larger!
We shall see what comes next! Stay tuned...

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Don’t allow others to dictate who you are.
Don’t let another’s opinion stop you from your self expression.
Don’t let your miss-spoken words keep you from trying to say it again.
Don’t stop your voice because your ego wants to be liked.
Don’t move into inertia because of fear.
Don’t stop living life because the current lesson seems hard
Or you make up that you are a bad person.
“Pick your self up
Dust yourself off
And begin again”
These words spoke from our President
Along with an apology
Give us faith that we can
“Begin Again.”
From wherever we are
Whoever we are
No matter out past
Our seeming future
Nor the circumstances that we seem to find ourselves in
Just DO.

Friday, January 9, 2009

In November I traveled to Paducah, Kentucky where I took a class from Nancy Crow ( \ ). It was an awesome experience.

This class was her beginning class, The best of Strip Piecing I and II. It was fascinating. Cutting solid coloured fabrics into strips, sewn together, re-cut and re-sewn... We worked on a design wall -- which I have done, but really working at looking at each step from -- in a vertical orientation from a distance. Funny the things you know yet don't do and their impact when you start!
I am currently working on a version of strip piecing for a challenge quilt. It's image will be revealed after the acceptance or rejection of it (Summer or next month!). I am very excited by the process. I am anxious to show and get feed back, but am following the guidelines...

Speaking of guidelines -- or perhaps just common sense... I am hoping the public is not falling for this!
I was working in the studio. The television was on and here comes an advertisement for "High Fructose Corn Syrup". The first commercial for HFCS got an audible laugh from me. Subsequently I have grown ever more irritated.
THEN I found this article talking about the environmental impact of HFCS. You should check it out!

Let me know what you are up to or what you find irritating.