A Trio of Memories

Those that touch our lives
stay in our hearts forever

My Aunt Eleanor was blessed to live a long and amazing life. Her three children are all special cousins to me. After her passing at the age of 100, my cousin Kate was kind enough to share with me some vintage French lace doilies that her Mom had tucked away. The doilies had never been used and were still held together by a single stitch and a tag of origin.  I decided to create a trio of small wrapping cloths for my cousins from them.

For a contrasting fabric to the white lace doilies, I used a fat quarter of an aboriginal design cloth that I had run across while I was visiting the La Conner Quilt Museum last fall. Using some spun silk broadcloth as a base, I created three unique cloths for my three cousins and saved them for holiday giving. The wrapping cloths have now been distributed so I thought I would share some photos on this blog. I am particularly pleased with how they turned out.

I was able to draw upon many of the stitches and techniques from my studies with Karen Ruane in creating these pieces.

In the detail photo below, you catch a glimpse of some gimp anchored with bullion knots and stab stitches. Karen is using gimp in her own compositions in the most amazing ways. I chose here to simply create a line echoing the triangular prairie points and highlighting three pieces of the lace. You can really appreciate the beauty of the lace in this close up.

In the composition detailed below, I used some covered cording to create a design line and then added some appliqué circles outlined with chain stitches and yo-yos as a background to the lace doilies.

My third piece used the largest doily in the group. I used French knots, gimp, and chain stitching as well as some small appliqué circles to offset the larger lace piece.

All three pieces were backed with white cotton fabric and given a finishing touch of an edging of small running stitches.

I had many fond moments remembering time with my Aunt as I was stitching these mementos for her children. My hope is that the pieces I created will bring back many similar memories for each of my cousins when they happen upon them in their own homes.

New Facebook Page

With the start of the new year, I have begun an artist page on Facebook. I am slowly developing a gallery there which eventually will highlight my hand stitchery as well as my art quilts. I will also use the page to share posts as I create new works. I intend to still blog here several times a month but if you would like to also follow my new page, here is the link.

 

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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The Art of Play

Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.
Michael Jordan

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Learning a lot about play from my new granddaughter. It is how she learns. She finds joy in the simplest things – a drawing of a frog on her play mat or the smile of her mother as she plays pick-a-boo with her. And, all the time, she is learning how to use her arms, her voice, and get comfortable with being in this world.

So, this week I decided to take the time to play and ‘stop and smell the roses.’ Coincidentally, I found some great roses to smell during a hike in Manito Park in Spokane.  🙂

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In my studio, I played with some silk net that I purchased last year but just hadn’t stitched on yet. Silk net is soft and delicate. I used it to create what Karen Ruane calls ‘lace cloth’ through a process using my sewing machine and hand embroidery.  I then joined my lace cloth with another piece of commercial lace that I had embellished slightly. In the coming weeks I intend to add more odd pieces of lace and other cloths. Where it will go, I don’t know. It is just play and it feels great.

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Hope that you will find time to play in the next week too!

Linking, as usual, to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog. Check it out!

Life is good!

The present moment is the only moment available to us
and it is the door to all moments.

Thich Nhat Hanh

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When you are 5 weeks old, it is natural to be in the present moment. A shoulder to lean on creates contentment. If only we could all stay so present and find contentment in where we are currently in our lives.

As always, this week provided its own challenges to being in the present moment for me. But, moving forward one step at a time with my art, it really was a good week.

A note from my contact person at Quilts Beyond Borders revealed a definite need for quilts to fill requests from India, Ethiopia, and for Syrian refugees. This spurred me on to work not only with some fabric provided by Quilts Beyond Borders but also to delve into my stash for other ideas. Some fabric squares I picked up at Ikea a year or so ago magically formed a base for a second quilt top.

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At the same time, my mind was busy with ideas for my next art quilt. I enjoyed working on a sea theme so much in my last piece that I have decided to do a series. Taking inspiration from a photo of the Irish coast, my studio floor is now laid out in possible fabrics. With luck, I will be sharing more in the coming weeks on this exciting project.

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And, finally, I leave you with a breath of spring. The weather in Spokane has been absolutely perfect the past week and spring is definitely in the air. My hand stitching simply could not resist celebrating the re-emergence of wild flowers around our property by taking on a flower theme on this delicate antique cloth I have been working on.

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Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog.

One Step at a Time

Creativity is just connecting things.
When you ask creative people how they did something,

they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something.
It seemed obvious to them after a while.
That’s because they were able to connect experiences
they’ve had and synthesize new things.
Steve Jobs

In my quiet moments, I often smile in wonder at how the various parts of my life come together. When I worked with Tom Crum for many years, we called it ‘following your center’. Creativity comes from following your center, just trusting it will all make sense in the long run. We decided to look for a second home out west, now we have one two minutes from our grandchildren including a newborn. We had no way of knowing when we made the initial decision this would be the outcome. We just sort of trusted and how great is this outcome!

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In my studio this week, various projects are coming together:

The assorted threads and fabrics are beginning to create a new pouch with the overwhelming feel of homespun cloth as the base – a piece of vintage linen found at an antique mall in upstate NY.

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On the art quilt front, the seascape of last week now has been pieced and fused.  Next steps are to play with shading, stitching/quilting.

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And, then there was that piece of cloth that I picked up at Undercover Quilts with the intention of using in a quilt for Quilts Beyond Borders. It has found a complementary partner in my stash and is currently being cut and pieced , and I hope to have another quilt to send on to Quilts Beyond Borders in the coming weeks.

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Hope that your creativity is flowing as well. Linking as usual to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday, so you can see what others are doing.

Hand Stitching Reverie

I cannot count my day complete
‘Til needle, thread and fabric meet.
~Author Unknown

I added hand stitching to my passions about two and a half years ago. The rationale was that the work would be transportable and that would be an asset with all my travels. It has grown into a daily practice that allows me to pause, breathe, and simply create something of beauty. My new studio allows me to go further with my art quilts and surface design that I ever could do before and I treasure that gift. But, my hand stitching grounds me and creates another meditative time in each day to simply savor my surroundings and gather my thoughts. Plus there is the added benefit of being part of Karen Ruane‘s online community which has expanded my network of fiber art friendships greatly.

Here is a glimpse into some of the handiwork that I have been about these past few weeks. Enjoy!

Some close ups from a silk pouch:

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A new needle case:

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And, finally a vintage doily transformed into a pocket to store treasured mementos:

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Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

Jan 2016 start

Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King

It has been a good week. That’s not to say there haven’t been the usual amount of ups and downs but I love that I am back in my studio!

One project of the week was a curtain for my second grandchild whom we expect to be born in March. I had made her sister’s curtains so I already knew what was involved – and this time I had both the luxury of my daughter being able to pick out the fabric with me and being able to run over to her home to double-check some measurements and techniques as I stitched the curtains up.

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This is the week that my online class with Karen Ruanne started. It is so great to be viewing Karen’s videos again. The theme is Patched Pockets with an emphasis on using vintage hankies. As of yesterday, I had a tentative layout for half of my first ‘pocket’ of the class.

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And, of course, there is the tsukineko ink experiments that I have been participating in. I have been doing far less than my online pals but I did explore using the inks for my current Paris project. I started optimistically as I was getting feedback that loading a brush with ink and then dipping in gel was a good approach. If you look at my explorations, you can see that my results were certainly mixed. Guess which is when I overloaded ink on the brush! I did find a way that I want to use the inks in the winter scene project I will discuss next, but I have moved on for the current Paris piece to a new idea.

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Most of my attention went to my new art quilt based on the winter scene I wrote about last week. As you can see, I am really getting into it (and that feels great!). I have a long way to go…….none of the trees are fused, nor is most of the snow……lots more to add in terms of trees, snow on trees, and accents in the foreground, rocks, etc. But, this piece is growing on me daily.

 

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My mylar ‘pattern’

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You have to start somewhere……..my first tree experiments

 

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More trees, still experimenting

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Sorry about the light reflections from my overhead lighting though I must say I like the effect. In this photo, you can start to get the feel of the forest.

That is where I am leaving things for this week. With a little luck, I will move forward with all of these projects, plus there is this quilt my daughter would like for the new nursery.  🙂

P.S. Linking to Nina Marie’s  Off the Wall Friday blog. Please check out other artists.

 

Time flies….

The holiday season certainly makes the time fly by! I returned from my trip to the East Coast just over a week ago and immediately got into holiday preparations and a quick drive over to Seattle. The trip back East was extremely busy. I packed up about 10 boxes of household items to ship out to Spokane. They have all arrived safely and our second house feels more and more like a home. While I was in NYC, I did manage to visit a few places in the garment district and couldn’t resist picking up some additional fabrics.

These will work wonderfully in my hand stitching projects:

Elegant white cottons

 

And, this piece of cotton fabric from Japan may just show up in some of my art quilts as well!

Japanese cotton print

For now, it found its first application in a piece that I have been stitching for the past month for the end table by my bed in our new home.

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Despite all the chaos of the past few weeks, I have been steadily working on projects and the piece for my nightstand is now complete:

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While home in Victor, I also stopped in my favorite antique mall to see if there were any new finds. I am taking another stitching class with Karen Ruane in January called Patched Pockets.  A theme in the class involves using vintage hankies. I think these will work nicely in the class:

Vintage hankies

Amidst all this activity, I have been gradually developing a plan for the new year but am not quite ready to commit it to print! Perhaps by next week!

Wishing the best for everyone in this holiday season!

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View from my studio today

 

 

Plan Now for Urban Murmurs!

The fog comes in
on little cat feet.
It sits looking over
harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
    Carl Sandburg

I learned about a relatively new Call for Entry this week called Urban Murmurs. It immediately brought to mind Carl Sandburg’s poem which I learned as a child…I would be curious to know what images Urban Murmurs conjures up for you!

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I would also encourage you to check out the Urban Murmurs website. The juried exhibition is being sponsored by two friends, Julie Brandon and Val Schultz, whom I deeply respect and who create really high quality exhibitions. The exhibition will run from April 18 – May 20, 2016. Since the entry deadline is February 1, 2016, you have plenty of time to plan to enter.

I can only hope that I will be in a position to submit an entry by February 1! Here is where most of my fabric stash currently exists.

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Is this all of it? Well no, only most of my quilting cottons. My handwork supplies are still filling my office and will probably do so till fall. But, I expect my time to be increasingly split between coasts as our second home nears completion, so I am beginning to box up what I can when I am in our NY home. It will give me a better feel of the size of a load that will move out to the new house.

What exactly did I accomplish in the past week? Well, I could go into details on easements and closet design, but that is not the purpose of this blog.  🙂  Time was pretty limited this week for stitching but I did manage to finish designing and stitching the side of the pouch that I was working on last week.

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Here is hoping that I have something to show on the other side of the pouch by next Friday!

Linking up, as usual, with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

 

One Step At A Time

You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have always been a firm believer in the ‘one step at a time’ approach to living. I remember walking to the top of Croagh Patrick in Ireland meditating on the thought of just putting one foot in front of the other. As I was searching for a quote for this week’s blog, I came across these words from Martin Luther King, Jr. They seemed appropriate at one level as once again my country is reeling from an onslaught of violence, this time against a community who lived the philosophy of Rev. King to the fullest. From a different, totally light hearted perspective, the quote resonated literally with the process of building a home that is currently monopolizing my time.

While my adventures in house construction continued this week, I received some positive news on the fiber arts front. The 6×6 exhibit that I wrote about in early June sent me a note that my contribution has already been purchased! I am pleased that with almost 6000 pieces, mine has already been selected by someone. My name has been already revealed to the purchaser so I can share the piece with you here. (People buy the art works without knowing who created them.)

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There are still many more wonderful pieces available for purchase online on Rochester Contemporary Art Center’s website. I encourage everyone to go check them out and consider contributing to a great cause.

While most of my time in the past week has been spent on house construction, I did find a few minutes to work on my latest pouch. I brought two along on this trip, perhaps optimistically thinking that I would be able to complete both. While that won’t be the case, stitching on this piece did help remind me of my fiber artist identity.  🙂

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

Another completion!

As this week comes to an end, I am back out with my daughter and family while I work on details related to building our second home. Before I left, I did finally complete the pouch that I started about a month ago. I thought I would share a few photos:

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Picnic Quilt Update!

Last week I included a photo in a post of a picnic quilt that I made for my granddaughter. A number of my blog friends wrote expressing concern about treatment that the quilt might receive from said granddaughter. I thought you might enjoy a quick photo of the picnic quilt in action…Judy Kate served a delicious lunch to Raven and myself on the living room floor.

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Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday. Hope you have a minute to check out some of work of other artists!

 

Bits and Pieces

It has been a week of odds and ends: moving towards completions, laying groundwork for new projects, and throwing in a quick granddaughter gift!

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This is just waiting for a lining

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A future hexagon pocket!

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Another WIP

And, finally, a new quilted picnic blanket for my granddaughter. I screened the center flower image years ago in a workshop in Kyoto…It blended perfectly with some Japanese fabric given me by a student. It will receive hours of loving play as it hosts backyard picnics this summer with ‘seal’ and ‘Raven’. If we are lucky, we will all be invited for a cup of tea!

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

 

A New Twist on Re-purposing

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.
Havelock Ellis

This past week has been about preparing for change. I am back in our New York home and devoting a portion of each day to sorting through the accumulations of many years lived in this house. I found a great book,  The Life-changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way to Banish Clutter Forever by Marie Kondo, which has helped me quite a bit. Marie suggests asking if each piece of clothing and other household paraphernalia brings joy to your life. That is an interesting way to clean out things. I tried it with my clothing and found it quite effective. The second part of the process involves being willing to let go of the piece, once you have determined that it has outlived it’s usefulness for you. That is obviously a bit trickier and I found Marie’s perspectives most helpful in actually getting those clothes into a bag for our local Goodwill store.

While carrying on this household sorting, I also was completing another pouch. I had to smile as I realized the re-purposing of cast-aways were the base for the pouch.  I had never quite looked at my use of vintage cloth and hankies in quite that way before.

The pouch uses both some “lace cloth” I created from scraps from other stitching projects, and some vintage hankies and fabric remnants I had in my stash:

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Lace Cloth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bits and Pieces

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here you can see the place of honor for the lace cloth bit in my pouch:

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The vintage hankies, which others had let go of in their own cleaning efforts, now repurposed, add to the beauty of this piece.

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Front of Pouch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Back of Pouch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It gives me great joy to take these bits and pieces and give them new life. It also makes me chuckle. I am supposed to be cleaning out, but I couldn’t resist a trip over the weekend to our local antique mall to see what other items might have been cast off by previous owners. I found enough vintage embroiderie anglaise and lace for new projects to keep me busy re-purposing for quite a while!

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

Springtime Flowers

Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.
Rainer Maria Rilke

The view outside my office no longer is snow, but it is still a bit bleak. No worries..the temperatures are slowly rising. Though the flowers are yet to emerge, I chose to start a small project that would remind me of their existence.

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This burst of spring came from an antique hanky I had acquired, probably because I was attracted to the unusual design and the choice of colors to frame the flowers. It shares the focal point with another smaller cluster of flowers on what will be the front of another pin pillow or perhaps a sack .

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Creating these smaller projects is great fun. I start with an assortment of fabrics and hankies and  noticed that one of my ice-dyed cotton pieces complemented the frame of the larger burst of flowers. Building from there, bit by bit, the layout emerged. It wasn’t until I added that bit of lace trim near the bottom that I felt like I had a good foundation.

The actual stitching of this piece has just barely begun. A final version will emerge in the coming weeks, so you will have to wait. One of the reasons is the latest arrival in our home.

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I have a new MacBook Air! I am so excited! The past day or so have been taken up with migrating from my MacBookPro and then getting all my peripherals working on the Air. I am already appreciating the increased efficiency of this machine – and will fully delight in its lighter weight as I trek back and forth across the country in the coming months!

Most joyously, this acquisition marks the end of a computer-intensive quarter. I still have some re-organization of files to accomplish on my new machine, but, with the FFA website up and running, springtime promises more time for stitching! Yay!

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

‘Tis the Gift

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,

To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,

To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

Joseph Brackett, 1848

‘Tis the Gift happens to be one of my granddaughter’s favorite songs – I have no complaints on that! It also is a favorite of mine and such a great reminder for this season. Simplicity is my mantra this time of year. No major art projects; no major plans. I try to take care of all holiday shopping before December so I can enjoy the season. I love Christmas Carols and getting together with friends.  I especially want the time to savor that I am alive, healthy, and blessed with a wonderful family and friends.

In keeping with the theme of simple, my focus these December days is on hand stitching. I have learned that it does not take much to turn a piece of cloth into a celebration of stitchery: a few French Knots, maybe a bouillon knot or two, and some buttonhole lace.

Here are some of the pieces I have been working on:

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May you have a joyful and peaceful December!

Linking to NinaMarie’s Off the Wall Blog.

A Pin Pillow

Another finished project in my studies with Karen Ruane! I have been in Karen’s class, Simply Stitch 5, for five weeks. If you have been following me for a bit, you know that in Karen’s classes you are a ‘fly on the wall’, watching her work while stitching your own projects. Karen has been working quite a bit with ‘bling’ in this class. She chose a pin pillow as a project and I decided one could never have too many pin pillows so I followed along. It gave me a chance to use some tiny mirrors I had picked up at a sale in our quilt club and to play with ‘gimp’ – a shiny cord that I had seen many times but never used in a stitching project.

The result of all this play was a quite delicate pin cushion. Here are a few views of it.

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The base fabric is a silk charmeuse with an overlay of lace pieces and, of course, hand embellishment. In addition to the gimp and the mirrors, there a few buttons I had collected and some beads. It is really quite luxurious. Karen made a point to urge us all to use our pillows so we could enjoy them on a daily basis. There is the definite urge to put things away as they are ‘too nice’ to use. I am quite sure that as I quilt and stitch each day and have it in view, I will have one more reason to smile!

Linking to Nine Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

 

Hopping Around the World

This week I am delighted to be participating in the Around the World Blog Hop.  I was invited by Deborah Lynn Stanley and you can read her blog hop post here. The theme of the hop is to answer some questions about our creative process. I found it  a great opportunity to stop and consider my own artistic journey so here goes!

What am I working on?

I have been working on art quilts for about seven years. Late last year I began to study hand stitching with Karen Ruane. I am currently taking a class entitled Simply Stitch 5 with Karen. It is a free form class via the internet where the student is a ‘fly on the wall’ in Karen’s studio while she works. You have a choice of working on what Karen is working on or doing your own thing with feedback from Karen and other students. We use Flickr for posting photos of our process and receiving comments. I have found that this approach to learning works wonderfully for me. I travel back and forth between upstate New York and Spokane Washington regularly so I need a flexible learning arrangement.

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As part of Karen’s class, I have just started to create a cloth that will be comprised of men’s handkerchiefs embellished with feminine touches. I have just finished my first ‘block’ which added lace trim and french knots to a blue handkerchief. I love the color combination and the feel of working with these fibers and am going to be really curious to see how this develops as I embellish more handkerchiefs!

 

Ghost Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I always have an art quilt in process and have been working on a piece on deforestation for an upcoming Call for Entry. I don’t usually work on pieces for specific Calls but this was a topic that interested me and so I used the Call as an opportunity to make a statement through my art. Here is a peak at one of the ‘ghost trees’ that I have designed to wander through a devastated landscape. I have hand stitched mulberry paper backed with roving onto a hand dyed organza background.

 

How does my work differ from others in my genre?

Hmmm. My art quilts are reaching out more and more beyond the use of cloth fibers to get the effect I need. For example, in my art quilt, Roots, I use wire for the fencing near the cottage.

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Why Do I Create What I Do?

That is simple: – to make a statement. It may be about something I observe in the world. Often, I am capturing a moment in time either from my travels or my life that had significance to me. I hope that my art will touch others and invoke emotion in them. My art is my means of reaching out and communicating with others.

A trip to Antarctica a few years ago is a great example of how my travels have inspired my work. I was deeply touched by the beauty of ice in that intriguing world. To date, I have created a number of art quilts out of my Antarctic experience and I am sure more will surface. Journey is a good example and you can find others here on my website.

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How Does My Wriitng/Creating Process Work?

Ideas for my art often come during meditation. I also take a lot of photographs as I travel. Something in a photo will capture my attention – it may be the light, certain shapes, or the overall essence of a particular place. Over time, I get a clearer image in my mind of what a particular piece might look like. From there I will either begin sketching with an idea of creating an art quilt from unique fibers, or I may decide to play with a photographic image in Photoshop with a goal of printing the image on cloth for stitching.

At some point along the way, the art work itself ‘takes over’ the creative process. I listen to it as I work and follow the direction it dictates. Sounds crazy but if I don’t listen, I grow intensely dissatisfied with the piece.

Linking to Talented Friends

As part of the hop, I get to invite some friends to join in next week. The three who will be posting next week are:

Jeanne Marklin – Jeanne and I both have a passion for travel.  We attended SAQA’s annual conference in 2013 together and I quickly appreciated the depth of her knowledge of the fiber art world. Her art quilts are stunning and she is masterful dyer. Be sure to check out her blog and her website today and again next week.

Diane Miller – Diane and I are members of RAFA, Rochester Area Fiber Artists. She is constantly exploring and creating amazing art quilts and jewelry. You can see examples on her blog.

Regina Dunn – Regina and I met over the internet as we participated in SAQA’s Vision Project. I love Regina’s enthusiasm to explore new methods and her talent to in writing about her process on her blog. She will be writing a post for the hop next week. In the meantime, you can see some of her work on her website.

More Blogs to Discover

There have been many exciting participants in the hop in the past weeks. Here are links to a few so you can enjoy learning about them:

I hope that you all enjoy this opportunity to explore what all these amazing artists are accomplishing.

Some Hand Stitching Fun

The past week or so I have been in Ireland with two of my cousins having a glorious time – amazingly, there was no rain and sunshine every day. The trip meant an emphasis on hand stitching as that could travel along with me.

As you know, I have been studying with Karen Ruane for almost a year now.  September marked the completion of one six month course and the start of a 12 week follow-up. I decided to mark the transition by working on a grouping of three small cloches. I find these small projects are a fun way of practicing different techniques with an actual end product as a result!

Small Red ClocheIn the first of the three cloches, I used some kimono fabric to create a luscious red ‘bumpy bit’ on the back of the cloche. I encircled it was some simple chain stitch and put a few French knots in the center.

Red Cloche

I played on the front of the cloche with a modified web stitch. I rather like the effect.

My next cloche gave me a chance to work with hexagons. Karen used some hexagons in the early part of Simple Stitch Four. Given my hectic life, it took me to the final weeks to experiment with them. I found a metal template I ordered from England really helpful.

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In no time, I had some neat strips of hexagons for cloche #2!

row of hexagon shapes

I embellished these with a spray of French knots that you can see here as the future cloche dries from damp stretching.

hexagondamp

I finished this cloche on my trip and started some work for my new course with Karen.  As I settle back in from my journeys, I will share these as well as some of the antique lace/cloth I found in the small town I was staying in.

Be sure to check out Off the Wall Friday for more of what fiber artists have been doing this past week.

Turning Points

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

Kitchen window viewGazing out at the view from my kitchen window this morning, I am reminded of how lush and beautiful this time of year can be. We have had more than our share of rain this summer and our yard is a deep, deep green. It has been good for  Mudcreek Farm, our local CSA,  and we have been sharing in the bounty of their crops. At the same time, some of our days are cooler now – a reminder that summer is in its waning days and fall approaches.

Such a morning reverie easily reminds of transitions and the words of one of my favorite folk songs, “To every season,” immediately come to mind. Based on verses from the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, Pete Seeger put music to the words in 1959 and it has since been sung and recorded by many. Pete left us this January after a long, giving life. Thought it might be a nice way to start a day by listening to his rendition of the song.  I will be busy working on my next art quilt while I listen. I hope you will be engaged in an activity that brings you joy while you listen.

 

Hand stitching work

Work in Progress – inserts into lace cloth created on my Bernina

Linking to Off the Wall Friday

Knowing When to Stop!

Do not follow the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself.”
Zen Master Dogen

 

With hand stitching, as with art quilts, the artist could continue to embellish and tweak till eternity. It takes a goodly dose of self awareness to hear that inner voice whispering (or eventually yelling) ‘That’s enough, dear!”.

So it was this past week   – I realized as I completed some inserts  that I had been working on for a few days that the pouch in my hands was done. I know I have shared some glimpses of it these past few months. Here it is, finally complete. :)

Hand embroidered pouch

This piece is a happy reminder of our trip to Normandy in May. The fabrics were purchased in London, the white overlay, shown below, is a clipping of a handkerchief I picked up at an open market in Paris.

hand embroidery

You can see from these detail shots that I made good use of that Liberty fabric I have been blogging about! The pouch is actually lined with the fabric as well.

liberty fabric insert

I added a few tabs to the bottom front of the pouch. I am not sure what I will use this pouch for, but if I do travel with it, the tabs will give me a place to place a few needles while stitching.

tabs on body of pouch

There is a special glow that comes with working with such beautiful fabric and from finishing the composition. It inspired me throughout the week as I took up some new projects. Hope to share more on them next week!

In the meantime, I will be linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog tomorrow, so be sure to check out everyone’s posts.

Summertime contemplation

Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.

Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts, 1858

I have found the ideal way to brainstorm with myself on a design for a new art quilt — hand embroidery! While pondering the possibilities for stitching some tree trunks, I quietly sit and work on my Liberty London fabric pouch that I wrote about a few weeks ago. It is a wonderful way to pass some of each day in the beautiful summer weather we are having. It seems as though as I carefully stitch on the pouch, my mind slows and opens to possibilities for those tree trunks!

Here are a few glimpses of my gradual progress:

photo 1

hand embroidery

hand embroidered pouch