Archives for July 2016

Preserving Vintage Cloth

The past few months I have been working with a delicate piece of vintage cloth. It was most likely originally a table runner. I found it at an antique mall in upstate NY. The linen cloth was so soft to the touch. Often in the projects I work on during my time with Karen Ruanne, we cut apart vintage pieces and re-construct them into new uses in pouches, lace cloths, etc. However, I decided to preserve this piece of cloth in its entirety while re-purposing it.

I folded it in half with the intention of creating a pouch where one could store other laces, ribbons, etc. I then began a process of embellishing it, starting with the front which had an opening in the middle.


I then carried part of the design onto the back and continued with embellishing, using part of a vintage hankie from my stash.


The flowered fabric was a Japanese cotton I had found on one of my expeditions to the NYC garment district. I used it throughout the pouch, including the lining.


The pouch retains the soft hand of the vintage linen fabric and now can continue its life in a way that it will be gently cared for and appreciated whenever used.




The Creative Spark

“Creativity is contagious, pass it on”
 Albert Einstein

This week I discovered the documentary series, Chef’s Table. It is in its 4th season so perhaps many of you have been enjoying it for a number of years. I do not spend much of my time watching television so I make no claims to be up on all the latest shows. However, now that I have found this series on Netflix, I am in love with it and encourage you to seek it out and enjoy a few episodes. I think that it will send you back to your studio energized and eager to move forward with your current projects.

Each episode is about one renowned chef. It draws upon chefs from all over the world and interviews them at length about their lives, their philosophy, and how they cook. The artistry of each chef comes across to the viewer through not just their words but incredible photography of the dishes they create and the environment in which they choose to create.

I find myself inspired by both the beauty of what I am seeing and the fervor of the individuals that has driven them to create.

To give you a sense of the series, here is the promo video for the first season. Enjoy!


Decisions, decisions!

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing,
the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.
Theodore Roosevelt



Should I play with my octopus or my smiley face????

I am so grateful to everyone who offered feedback through email or this blog on my current “Morning Walk” art quilt. It was wonderful to receive your thoughts and appreciate that there were many options to consider. After a quick trip over last weekend to Missoula to run a 5k with my family, I got back to work on “Morning Walk.”

Wish I could say that I can offer a finished piece and resolution of all my indecisiveness but that is just not the case. I spent hours experimenting  – a very good thing. And, I did make decisions. And, I did actually start fusing elements!


Starting from the draft above,  I experimented with a number of choices and finally decided that the blocks were not necessary.


Next I focused on the tree, some angulation issues that were bothering me, and the placement of the woman relative to the tree. She had been much further to the left of the tree in earlier drafts.

Version 2

This is the background that I actually fused to my muslin backing. Only the woman and the tree trunk are currently unfused. I then began to play with shadowing and adding some vague interest to the ground that the tree sits in. I still have a stash of organza that I dyed several years ago and that I love using for shadow effects. This draft below shows a first stab at adding it.  It will be changing into a much more amorphous shape on the brown area. I played with sketches last night…


You may be wondering about ‘the fence’. I haven’t decided! 😈  The suggestion to play with adding fence in an iPad app is tempting me, as well as the suggestion to add in some strips of fabric to simulate a fence. Plus a friend in my stitching class with Karen Ruanne just posted a beautifully stitched window grate that really tempts me as a possibility. At this point, I like the direction of the piece enough to devote time in the next week to exploring these possibilities along with finishing off my shadow work.

Hopefully there will be another update next week!

Linking as always to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

A Morning Walk

All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.
Friedrich Nietzsche

This week’s focus has been my art quilt, Morning Walk, which I sketched out in Elizabeth Barton’s class, Inspired to Design. I wrote about the sketch a few weeks ago in a post and received some great encouragement. The photo that inspired the sketch was taken in Crete a few years ago – a local woman walking along the street. As is traditional in smaller villages on the island, the older women all dress in black. It brings back memories of my childhood growing up in a Sicilian neighborhood in New York where black was worn by all the old grandmothers.

I knew that a totally black figure would be a bit challenging to convey and so I made it my first effort. I didn’t want to follow my more typical process of beginning with a background and then building upon it. After all, what if I couldn’t finally capture the sense of a woman walking and was left with a blank background? I really shouldn’t have worried. The woman came together fairly quickly.


The rest of my week has involved play on a background for her. It is still in draft stages – simply blocks of fabric on my design wall with the start of a tree. Here is a cropped photo of its current state as I audition background elements and positioning of my lady and tree. I suspect she will wind up closer to that tree than in this version.


You may remember, in my sketch, she is walking along a fenced off area.


I really liked that fence and visualized quilting it in with fine lines at the end of the quilting. As I have been playing with a background, one friend wondered if including the fence would be a distraction to the flow of the work. Hmmm? Good time to raise the question. I wonder too. I have asked Elizabeth for an opinion as our class is still going and am awaiting her feedback. I wonder if anyone else has an opinion?

It is convenient that I can continue working on the quilt and make a decision on the fence towards the end. There are plenty of other decisions to be made first as this is definitely a work in progress!

Linking up to Off the Wall Friday so you can check out what others are doing as well.

Talk Less, Smile More!

Talk Less, Smile More
Lyrics from Broadway Musical, Hamilton

A slightly skinned knuckle is keeping me from blogging very much today but those lyrics jumped out at me from the soundtrack of Hamilton that I have been listening to this week. I don’t necessarily agree with the following line in the play,  “Don’t let them know what you’re against and what you’re for.”  Since I am trying to limit my typing, I will refer you to Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic for a great blog post on the set of lines. I totally agree that we would have a far happier world if people did just talk less and listened to others!

Today, I will also type less, smile more!  I have been working away on improving sketches and looking at color palettes as well as some hand stitching. Guess you will just have to trust me on that.  🙂

Since today is the start of a major holiday in the U.S. where we pause to remember how this country to which many of our ancestors immigrated began, I will just add a patriotic tune and close. It is pretty hard to find a rendition of just the first verse without a lot of editorial commentary so I hope you won’t mind that I have resorted to a clip from Superbowl XLIX which I realize many of my Seattle friends would like to forget ever happened.