Go With the Flow

Flow with whatever is happening and let your mind be free.
Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.
Chuang Tzu

For the past 29 years, I have practiced the art of Aikido and it has deeply influenced my art and my life. This coming weekend I am again with my aikido pals for what promises to be a sweltering four days of practice. As my life unfolds around me these days, I am grateful for the basic tenets that aikido has drummed into my being in the past three decades:

Stay calm
Be willing to change
Nurture life
Trust your intuition


Typical Aikido ‘Camp’ gathering


Blending with ‘attacker’ to redirect their energy


We learn as much being thrown, as we do throwing. And, it is all great fun.

Naturally I have drawn upon my aikido practice in my art works over the years:

Two figure portrayal of dance of energy in Aikido

Dance of Energy – 2010


Kokyu Nage

Kokyu Nage – 2010

The concepts underly much of my art as the principles are universal in application. One of my favorite ‘flow’ pieces is in my “Ice World” series:

Ice Flow

Ice Flow – 2012

A Sneak Peek!


I am pleased to be an invited artist for “The 100” fiber fundraiser for the American Cancer Society that Virginia Spiegel has created. On February 4, 2015, you will have the opportunity to vie for being one of the 100 patrons who will receive an artwork from the contributing artists.

Here is a partial peek at the art quilt that I am contributing:


Extend Ki

Extend Ki

The piece is entitled Extend Ki. It measures 13.5″ x 14″. The phrase Extend Ki comes from my background in the martial art of aikido and my many years of work with author, Thomas CrumKi is a Japanese word that best translates as energy. The many brightly colored shapes emanating from a solid block express the concept of reaching out into the world from our centered base of self.

To learn more about how you might be the lucky person to receive this art quilt, or one of the other 99 pieces being offered in this fundraiser, please go to ‘The 100″ website for details.


Linking to Off the Wall Friday.

Opening Our Eyes to Art

How often do we see without seeing?

Do you ever stop and just look about you? I was reminded tonight how easy it is to take for granted our surroundings. I mentioned the art of Aikido in last week’s post. Tonight I was back in our dojo, or place of practice, just enjoying the peacefulness of our space. I often arrive early on Thursdays as I teach the first class. There is something special about taking a few minutes on my own to practice one of our weapon katas or do some extra stretching or breath work.

Tonight I arrived immersed in plans for my next art quilt. As I looked about me, what I saw was art. We have some very talented members who contribute freely of their time to enhance our practice space. As I looked about, the caring that created the art I found around me enveloped me and created the perfect mood to begin practice.

Here is some of what I saw:

Japanese clock

clock created on our wall using Japanese characters


Wall hanging reminding us of the four principles that guide our practicephoto

Photo of student caught in mid-roll printed onto to fabric


Bell given to dojo for starting class


Linked to Off the Wall Friday so you can check out other artists.

Hand stitching saves the day!

hand embroidered lettersThis summer season has gotten off to a busy start…….and the traveling doesn’t look to let up. Thank goodness that I made that decision a while back to begin studying the art of hand embroidery with Karen Ruane! It means that I can take my art projects with me, wherever I am. 🙂

As a result, while I was visiting my granddaughter this past week, I was able to add to those embroidered letters I mentioned in an earlier post.  So, the word “YES!” is now formed. While I am home over the next few weeks, I hope to complete quilting the piece that they will be added to.

But, first, I am off for a weekend of aikido at Rowan University. I may have mentioned that I practice a style of aikido called “Kokikai Aikido.” I am teaching with a group of nine other senior instructors at a seminar at Rowan. I am looking forward to seeing friends from around the country that I have practiced with for years. If you are not familiar with Aikido, I encourage you to read a bit about it. It is an art of de-escalation – where you move off line of attackers and work with their energy to end an attack. One of the most wonderful aspects of studying the art is the application in daily life. Your ability to remain calm under pressure increases. You also cultivate a heightened awareness of others. A dear friend whom I worked with for 25 years wrote one of the quintessential books of taking aikido off the mat into relationships – Magic of Conflict by Thomas Crum. The mind/body skills necessary to practice aikido can be learned by anyone. Tom was one of the first aikido practitioners to appreciate this. He is still traveling the world teaching those in management, education, health services, and even the armed forces. And, Magic of Conflict is the base of all his workshops. Whatever your calling in life, there are some ideas in Magic of Conflict that will help you along on your journey. Hope that you will check it out.

Make Your Life of Work, A Work of Art – Thomas Crum

P.S. Linking to Off the Wall Friday. Check out the other artists there!





1I spent the last week creating

Dance of Energy

Two figure portrayal of dance of energy in Aikido2010
24.5″ x 25.5″
Not For Sale

Pieced and appliquéd fiber art quilt with embellishment and decorative stitching.

This contemporary art quilt suggests the passage of energy in the martial art of Aikido from one person to another. When the timing between the two parties is in synch, the result is akin to dance.

Detail Image – Click to view larger

Close up of detail stitching in art quilt


Abstract art quilt of aikido throw

14.5″ x 11″

Quilted artwork, pieced with embellishments including yarn and angelina fiber

Many throws  in the martial art of aikido are called “Kokyu Nage” or Breath of the Nage. This is because the success of the throw relies heavily upon the timing and movement of the person being attacked.This piece depicts a flow of incoming energy (in red) being accepted and redirected. 


Detail image – click to view larger:

Kokyu Nage, detail