Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mandala How To!

A little earlier than the usual Mandala Monday
I just finished doing a one minute presentation showing a mandala being created -- one line at a time...
If you are in the area come join me at Mid-South Doodlers, Tuesday September 3, 2013. We meet from 7pm - 9pm at StudioNysha in Bartlett.
I will be doing a full demo this month. Then you can try. No need for supplies I will have some you can use!

Questions. Just ask!

Mid-South Doodlers meets the 1st Tuesday of each month. Join US!

from this

to this

Sunday, August 25, 2013


6 x 6
Mixed media on paper

Somedays I think I am connected to those around me and other days I feel alone.
I start with an intention and most days I feel I have met my intention and have connected.
Then I listen to peoples' response and find that they are having an all together different experience.
And how many times do you have to hear the same thing before you are confronted with the truth of it?
"When we try to describe the truth with words, we distort it and it's no longer truth -- it's out story. The story may be true for us, but that doesn't mean it's try for anyone else." Miguel Ruiz

What does it mean to connect?
How do you try and connect with others?
What gives you the sense that you have been successful connecting with others?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Moving Days

6 x 6
Mixed media on paper
So Mandala Mondays look like they will be relocated to Tuesdays.
Monday will be my new Sunday - the second day of my weekend.
A consistent day off is a good thing. Something you can plan around, count on.
I foresee that Saturdays will be busy at StudioNysha. And while not specifically a day in the studio it is a day spent doing quilt related things as there are three bees that meet on Saturdays.
It is also a popular class day.
While I relish routine there is something to say for flexibility. I am working on that one!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Ever have one of those days? The kind where nothing seems to go according to plan. They are not always bad -- sometimes the unexpected is better then what we planned. Too often we are so attached to what we want to happen that we fail to see the miracle in the present that IS happening.
This has been my week. Work crews scheduled then not coming one day and showing up another time. Plans for one day moved to another due to those schedule changes. And time being made for the  forgotten...
Except that I forgot to post the Monday Mandala yesterday, Monday! Although Tuesday is not Monday is it not Friday either.
Enjoy the miracle that comes unexpectedly to your life!
Mixed media on paper
6 x 6

Monday, August 5, 2013


6 x 6
Mixed media on paper
Sometimes the only way to finish a chore it to plow ahead and how for the best. Dividing up the tasks into more manageable bites can be a good approach.
So many times when a mandala is underway it seems to be going the wrong direction; those colours don't look good together, that pattern is [dull, too dark, too similar...]. I find that if I keep going that the end result is always better than I expected at that moment of doubt. More often that not the problem area is no longer offensive.
Keep working and the result might surprise you!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mandala Monday Could By Yours

Bullet Mandala
SAQA Auction Square
12 x 12
SAQA, Studio Art Quilt Associates is a great organization devoted to promoting the fiber and quilted mediums in the Art world and the general public around the globe. Each fall they have an auction event and hundreds of 12 inch by 12 inch quilts made by SAQA members are auctioned. This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for SAQA.
Check it out.

Monday, July 22, 2013

6 x 6
Mixed media on paper
Things are starting to bloom at the studio. I started hanging some of the art I have either collected or created. Most of the contractors work is finished; hanging the track lights, electrical and plumbing for the washer and dryer (dying fabric here I come!), installing a hanging rail around the space... even the addition of a refrigerator for my lunch, keeping dye concentrates fresh and chilling the wine for the opening...
I hope your summer is off to a great beginning as well.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Too Much!

6 x 6
Mixed media on paper
Sometime you get overwhelmed, behind, exhausted. The past week was one of those times. Moving the studio from the house to the new space, preparing for renovation crews at the house. Workmen, deliveries, decisions, inspections, permits -- just all too much! And then today, spent waiting all day long with anticipation of one more thing to get put in place so everyone else can continue...
I will be glad when all the dust settles and we settle into the new normal.
Whatever that might be!

Monday, July 8, 2013

6 x 6
Mixed media on paper
Sometimes the dark creeps in around the edges and all we have is holding onto what we know is the light at the end of the tunnel. This week has been full of deadlines, start dates as well as festivities. Everything has gotten accomplished properly and effort was absolutely applied. So here is to another week!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Mandala Monday Moving along...

6 x 6
Mixed media on paper
Some weeks are super productive.
Some weeks less so.
Some weeks are lessons in patience. This is where I have been stuck. Waiting for this. Stalled without that... and yet things seem to move forward.
The wall was erected at the studio. Picture rail was installed.
Next up the painter does his thing and I can finally unpack and get to work!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dear Tony

Dear Tony Perkins,

         Now that DOMA has been struck down we need to get a few things corrected, or straight if you will. No one is of the mind that a child having a Mom and Dad is a bad thing, thought this seems to be your focus. Too bad for you and your cause that you are not focusing on fostering a culture where divorce is less frequent (and rates being down because of the economy is not progress.) and people really do care for their children (with, oh little things like Health Care - are we up to 36 attempts to repeal AHCA?). The truth is that A caring and involved parent (one) is necessary to the well being of a child. Two is a blessing. Who those two people are seems to be of little consequence if they are loving and supportive.
         Not to mention that DOMA in not about children. It is about the civil rights of adults. The rights of everyone to have the same protections under the law. (In case you have missed it - fairness IS an American Value! Equal protection under the law...)

        So I say that if you are going to muddy the waters of Same Sex Marriage with child rearing you should put your money where your mouth is. Encourage couples to be "really prepared" before getting married so they can stay together (how about a little responsibility before having sex so we are not getting married out of obligation!) Taking care of children once they are born would also be appropriate and in line with biblical teachings -- from health care to quality education there are many ways we are letting down the children we already have. There are many more issues and many of them are ones more imminent for the child at adulthood. Those we can save for another time. Let's focus on children.
        It might also be important to state that many credible studies show that same sex households raising children don't cause issues for the children raised therein. And lets also make sure we are talking about the same issue - homosexual is not  the same as pedophile. Attraction to the same sex is not exerting power over others like children.
       Perhaps you could spend time focusing on what is really important and not getting into other people's civil rights. But that is what bullies do. You do seem to like exerting power over others... is there something you would like to disclose?

Here is the quote from Tony found on CNN a few minutes ago.

 Family Research Council president Tony Perkins released a statement saying his group was "disappointed" in the DOMA ruling and "disturbed" by the detail of the Proposition 8 decision but that it also took some heart from the Supreme Court's actions.
“Their refusal to redefine marriage for all states is a major setback for those seeking to redefine natural marriage," he said. "Time is not on the side of those seeking to create same-sex ‘marriage.’ As the American people are given time to experience the actual consequences of redefining marriage, the public debate and opposition to the redefinition of natural marriage will undoubtedly intensify."
He concluded: “What is inevitable is that the male and female relationship will continue to be uniquely important to the future of society. The reality is that society needs children, and children need a mom and a dad. We will continue to work to restore and promote a healthy marriage culture, which will maximize the chances of a child being raised by a married mother and father.”


Monday, June 24, 2013

Mandala Monday, Twins!

6 x 6
Mixed media on paper

6 x 6
Mixed media on paper
One of the great things about working in a series is the idea of duplicates or flushing out an idea. Here are two mandalas that are the same outline treated individually. I wanted to know how distinct I could make them look. In addition to their own colour schemes they follow distinct programs of value and contrast.
In '006' the highest contrast is in the ring toward the center. In '007' it occurs further out and the tips are darker in value. Also there is more contrast in the patterns in '007'.
In working on these I tried to push the differences yet they have the same feel. Perhaps because I did them both. My use of graduated colour, dots and hatching gives them a similarity.
What similarities and differences do you identify? Have you tried something like this, trying to make multiples look different? What was the result? I would love to know.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mandala Monday

6" x 6"
Mixed media on paper
Mandalas by nature have a radiating quality. In illustrating or Zen Tangling these mandalas I am trying to give a greater sense of radiating or pulsing. Some are more successful than others. Some, like this seem to take on another feeling altogether. I like it. Calm with a hint of heat, just like the weekend was.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Just another Mandala Monday
Wish it were Sunday...
Cause I could use another day. How about you?
So many things happening in my world and everyone with a deadline!
6 x 6
Mixed Media on paper
One of the things I anticipated in doodling or ZenTangling 144 Mandalas was repetition and boredom. To conquer that would be a feet worthy of the doing. Also to use several of the same outlines and make them look completely different -- not just in colour scheme, no to use colour, value and pattern to make them look like different outlines. THIS is much more challenging than I thought! And yet I love the challenge.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Mandala Monday

Can you wrap your head around the fact that today is the 3rd day of the sixth month of 2013? The year is half over. Christmas will be here before we turn around twice. (Yes, I did go there!)
Spring has been nice - a little wet here in Tennessee and yet with all the rain I did not see a rainbow. I created my own version...
6 x 6
Mixed Media on paper
For those of you who do not know about Derwent Inktense Pencils -- can I say THEY ARE THE MOST INCREDIBLE INVENTION! They go onto the paper like coloured pencil, but then you wet them and they are ink and are insoluble. I love the range of intense to muted they can achieve as well as the layering and blending available. Here I started filling in one shape with the yellow. Then I filled in the next with orange, etc
Try them out!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mandala Monday

Another Mandala Monday
even if a day late.
6 x 6
Mixed Media on paper

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mandala Monday

Welcome to the second installation of Mandala Mondays
I have just returned from MQS (Machine Quilters Showcase in Wichita, Kansas) where I learned a lot from several different classes and saw many fun and innovative things.

Back to the mandala... again this is mixed media on paper. That means I used more than one thing, not just graphite like here. I used Pigma MicronPens, Sakura's; Souffle, Glitter, and Glaze pens along with Derwent Inktense pencils

6" x 6"
mixed media on paper

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mandala Monday

I have long been mad for mandalas. Even before that I was crazy for circles and fell to pieces over great pattern.
All my loves are beginning to come together in a rather grandly scaled project, a six foot by six foot installation of six inch square mandalas.
Let me  back up a bit...
I designed several dozen (six or so) mandalas as a reaction to violence (see previous post here) I printed a few before attending the Studio Art Quilt Associates Conference in Santa Fe at the end of April to use during the 'Artist Speed Dating' event. (Great Fun!)
While at the conference I heard a talk by Pat Pauly and was inspired to begin this project.
Thus begins Mandala Mondays... I will share what I am doing in the creation of one hundred and forty four of these illustrated mandalas. (Yes! Your math was correct. I have a ton to do!)
Here is the first.

6" x 6"
multi media on paper

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Trying Newly -- Again!

I love blogs and Tumblrs. I subscribe to around thirty, so thank goodness most people don't post every day!
Several of my subscriptions are Tumblrs. For those of you who are not familiar with them they are mostly visual blogs - a place to post images that you like or are inspired by. I think of it as a virtual scrap book where I can pull from millions of other people's tear sheets.
MariĆ«t is one. She is a Zentangle fan, calligrapher and bookmaker. Much of the time her posts are written in a language I don't read, but her work is inspiring. Then yesterday I was really inspired. So inspired I downloaded a Zendala Dare string and did a tangle.
If you are wondering what a tangle or Zentangle is -- remember the doodling you did in school when you should have been paying attention to the teacher, (or yesterday in that meeting?)? A version of that is a tangle approached in a meditative manner. The string is the outline you begin with, like the ruled lines on the paper were. This is the string for the mandala below.
Mandala Dare #56

The challenge here was to create with only pencil.
I began with a 7H lead - that is a really hard lead that is easy to make a really light mark with and will not get very dark. I traced the outline (from a printed copy) and further delineated the spaces and began to add patterns.
I needed some dark so I grabbed another pencil with a 6B lead. This is a lead that is very soft and makes a really dark mark (the dark triangles). I filled in the middle with some 3B lead (nice mid softness)
Each lead has a different softness and will give you a different level of dark. The softer the lead the darker it will go. The harder the lead the lighter is can be. Word of warning though -- the hard leads almost inscribe the paper so erasing is not always possible. (Thankfully the marks can be so light that you can really plan ahead, change your mind and it will not show in the final result!) With the softer leads sometimes erasing will only lighten a certain amount off the paper leaving it a little hazy (which can be a nice effect if you wanted it).

I have been doing work on paper much more lately though with ink and coloured pencil and markers. Going back to the basics of graphite was nice. Amazing how fine or a pattern can be rendered in pencil!

PS! If you are thinking I am crazy to follow that many blogs perhaps you don't know about the RSS feed option. If you go to the bottom of this page you will see "Subscribe to Posts (Atom)" link. Click on that and then the link on lower right subscribe in mail. 
In my mail program, "Mail 4.6" that came with my Macintosh there is a folder where subscriptions automatically go. While my unread e-mails are currently 8 it is not counting my unread blogs (over a hundred). The thing I like about that is that it connects me with things I am interested (I don't have to bookmark and  remember to GO read... it just shows up in that folder, but not tallied up in my unread messages taunting me to urgently respond.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


"We Believe the Children are are future..."
Or so says that one song and many other sentiments like it.
And yet in the three months since the Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting there were more than 2,000 gun related deaths in the United States. These deaths range in age from 6 months to elderly.
And yet the discussion has stalled on Capital Hill. Ok - good for them that they had a discussion and not a filibuster. Small consolation, but the threat of one was disgraceful and childish.

See names and statistics here

My manner of dealing with it is to become totally obsessed with Bullet Mandalas. I have created several dozen design outlines, illustrated a couple, made a book, and stitches a couple. More are on the way. I thought it was time to debut a few...
First Mandala, Doodled with names of Sandy Hook Victims
Ink on paper, 8 x 8

Second doodled mandala
Ink and pencil on paper
8 x 8
First Illustrated Mandala
ink on watercolour paper
13 x 13
Shown against black fabric. Will be mounted on matt board.

Second Illustrated Mandala
ink on watercolour paper
13 x 13
Shown against black fabric. Will be mounted on matt board.

 My objective to not to take a position on guns. My desire is that we have an actual dialogue on the issues. And they are plural. We can not just have more control or less. People are the ones who hate, but the guns and people pull the triggers propelling the bullets toward someone's end. There are so many issues that need addressing, responsibility, education, poverty, mental health and illness, second amendment, etc.
We can not solve all these issues at one time, and yet people are dying.
Dyeing in their schools and workplaces, in their homes, on the streets and on the battle field.
Can we at least talk about it?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Free Motion Quilting Info

Today was the first class I thought in my studio. Exciting. And on my favorite topic, Free Motion Quilting.
I have had a passion for the quilted surface since my first visit to the Nation Quilt Museum in Paducah in 2005. After quilting once with a walking foot and feeling completely restrained by the prospect I decided I had to conquer Free Motion Quilting. A few thousand hours of practice and I think I have some handle on the issues. Still have room for improvement, but I'm not dead yet!
For the class I prepared a list of resources that I think are useful for Free Motion Quilting with a machine. I though you might enjoy them as well.

Nysha’s Quilting Video

Sharon Schamber videos on hand basting 

*Portable sewing table

Marguerita McManus - inexpensive “sewing table”

Carol Bryer Fallert’s Studio (great ideas for setting up yours for maximum comfort)

Leah Day’s 365 day quilt designs ( 365 different quilt fill patterns)

Diane Gaudynski’s Blog (information on all things related to Free Motion Quilting)

Superior Thread Tension Diagram
Superior’s Thread and Needle Guide
YLI’s Knowledge Center; “Thread and Needle” and “Thread of Truth”

Mettler Thread, images of thread stitched out in a variety of colour schemes

Recommended Reading 
Quilting Makes The Quilt, Lee Cleland (1994, Martingale and Co.) [Out of Print?]
Heirloom Machine Quilting, Harriet Hargrave (2004, C&T Publishing)
The Grammar of Ornament, Owen Jones (2001, L’Aventurine)
Dover Pictura Design books, Dover Publications
(Islamic Design and Japanese Design)
V&A Pattern Books, V&A Publishing
ZenTangle Books, Various publishers

This list is by no means exhaustive or complete -- it was just what occurred to me and would fit on a single sheet of paper. If there is something you would like to share please feel free. I love to discover new people and places and explore new ideas and products.

As a foot note - the class was great. A good group who worked hard, were open to learning and we had a good time. Thanks.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Connecting Links

This weekend was a "Connect The Dot Design" class at Davies Manor Plantation in Bartlett, Tennessee.  The class was part of the annual 'All Guild Quilter's Pot Luck'.  We had a nice turn out and great time!
Here is a list of the links that might be of interest...

Nysha Oren’s sites;

Linda and Laura Kemshall, Design Matters TV (subscriptions from $50 - 110. Well worth it. Very educational. Always inspirational.)

Pattern Print Journal

This Colossal

Elena Nuez (not English and yet one of my favorite blogs I subscribe to!)

Owen Jones, The Grammar of Ornament

Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) a terrific source for images and books

Textile Museum (DC) on line exhibitions and great books

Dover Books especially the ‘Clip Art and Design’ books

Supply Sources on line art/craft supplies local art/craft supplies

Renae's Rays and Mini Rays - a fabric and design friendly large and larger compass

Friday, February 8, 2013

Saturday February 16th I am teaching Connect the Dot Design for the Quilter's Pot Luck at Davies Manor Plantation in Bartlett, Tennessee. There will also be a demonstration of Visual Piecing.
Included is all class materials and handouts for creating your own unique designs as easily as you did those pictures in childhood by connecting the dots!
See you there.
Just a note - there is NO SOUND on the slides!

More information

Monday, February 4, 2013

Travel Sketch

While out of town this weekend I found myself sitting with the breakfast crowd in the hotel. I pulled out the iPad and opened the Paper app and sketched the salt and pepper shakers. What else was there to do?
Thank You Mary Pal for introducing me to this great app. Paper on iTunes

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Doing the Doodle

Recently I gave a presentation to Picking Up the Pieces in Cordova, Tennessee. I created an outline, copied it so that everyone could have a one and do a doodle. These are the one's I have gotten back so far.
Ellie's Doodle

Nanette's Doodle
Christopher's Doodle
Bethany's Doodle

 Here is the original outline. Can you see the 'Q' for quilting?
Original Outline
I added repetitive lines to create pattern
Preliminary Patterns
and then filled in some of the resulting shapes with more lines or filled them in with solid black.
Second layer of pattern

If you would like to do a doodle please click 'Q' Outline and print out your copy. (I think you have to right click and download then print. Not sure - let me know!) Then e-mail me and I will add it. Enjoy!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Doodle Quilting

I recently finished a new presentation "Pattern and Doodle" all about the exploration of pattern and creating pattern through 'Doodling'. Like the ZenTangle craze, doodling is all about simple lines and shapes repeated over and over to create a pattern. I doodle with my sewing machine on fabric as well as with ink on paper.
Here is a video talking about how...
Doodle Quilting with commentary from Nysha Oren on Vimeo.

Interested in a Free Motion Quilting class? One is scheduled for the beginning of March. Come and join us. Contact me for more information.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Link of Interest -- from "Pattern and Doodle"

Notes from my presentation "Pattern and Doodle" given at Picking Up the Pieces" last night in Cordova.

Nysha Oren’s Pinterest boards

Sharon Schamber videos on hand basting 

*Portable sewing table THIS is the most amazing, well designed thing you could get for your studio! Especially useful if you ever sew out of your studio; retreat, classes... 

Marguerita McManus - inexpensive “sewing table”

Leah Day’s 365 day quilt designs ( 365 different quilt fill patterns)

Lisa Calle - divide and conquer especially the entry titled “May 26 2012”

Linda and Laura Kemshall, Design Matters TV (subscriptions from $50 - 110. Well worth it. Very educational. Always inspirational.)

Pattern Print Journal

The Zentangle sites

Laura Harm’s blog - home of the weekly Zentangle challenge (loads of eye candy links!) 
Idea - start at Laura’s site, scroll down to a challenge post and at the end of the post click on the name of a participating person and look at their work. Run down the list!

Bits and Pieces Etc (Barbara and Nancy)

This Colossal
Elena Nuez (not English and yet one of my favorite blogs I subscribe to!)