23 April 2010

It's like deja vu all over again

Well, here I sit again after yet another website faux pas. I just had gotten the website STARTED when I got a notice that I had exceeded the limits (size of bandwidth and MB of space) of my contract with GoDaddy. No way I was going to shell out more money for a bigger site. It's not like I sell anything. I was just getting warmed up with my website so I opted to cancel my contract with GoDaddy for the second time. I am leaving out the angst producing details. So now I am back with my blog or blob as I so frequently misspell it. Is there a hidden meaning in there somewhere?? So...................here I go.

Yesterday I had to cancel my Thursday playdate with Rosalita to cart my mother around. My dad's in the hospital but with an easily fixable problem. He will no longer be on Coumadin but rather take a baby aspirin like the rest of us mortal (without insurance).

During the time she was stranded at Waldo County Hospital, I managed to mix up large quantities of ProChem print paste, Urea water, and soda ash soak and lesser amounts of red, blue,yellow and black dye. As the afternoon drew to a close, I hurriedly mixed 10 containers of a low water immersion dye bath and popped in full width ½ yard lengths of PFD fabric.

I wanted to do some light colors that I could alter with print paste either applied by hand, brush, credit card or silk screened – maybe a batik or shibori or 12. I only left them in the dye bath for an hour or so then rinsed them prior to the hot water set. They looked so cute rinsed and waiting in their little containers that I thought I would take a “group photo”. Is this an artist thing? At any rate, here they are in all their pastel glory. Now I remember why I don't like pastels but an over dyeing or direct application of additional color is just around the corner.

So all my parts: blog ramblings as well as tutorials and new art work: are back under one roof. I think I'll just stay away from websites for awhile. I wonder if there is a 12 step program for compulsive website launchers?

19 April 2010

A new day

I have decided to limit my blogging to pretty much random thoughts. I have started a new website and all of my artwork will be there along with the recording of the processes I used . One part of this journey was questioning why I wanted a website. Part of the reason was practicality. In certain venues, you cannot enter the address of a blog and call it a website. This I found out while entering information about myself in the information base of an art organization I just joined, the Surface Design Association. A blog is a blog and a website, I assume, is considered serious.
So I asked myself why do I need to be seen as serious? What exactly am I trying to accomplish. I do not actively seek to sell my work. If I never sold anything, I would have no problem with that. My work is a journey. It is the visual record of learning to speak art. If no one ever finds it pleasing, that would be OK too. My journey is just that and not an attempt to curry favor or meet someone else's expectations or parameters for “art”. I love the MGM motto, Ars gratia artis Art for the sake of art.I do not need to be a "commercial" artist to be serious. I consider it serious.
Some people sing, others play the violin, still others can so beautifully craft a sentence that it makes you weep. I can't do any of those things. I express myself with color, texture, and shape. Those are the “words” I use to express a thought, emotion, or concept.
So my journey has taken a position on the web. I see so many forks in the road. I am trying new techniques and modalities of applying my “words” to fabric and other materials. Each path adds a nuance to my sentences; shapes them so they can be seen in a new way. So off I go....It's a wonderful day.


10 April 2010


Nothing is a mistake. There is no win or fail. There is only make.             Sister Corita Kent

Make is the name of this quilt. Sometimes I have an idea for a work and I execute that thought or concept. In this case I took out a piece of unbleached linen, the remains of a curtain bottom after shortening, and I just started to assemble. This is one of my favorite pieces or is my current work just my favorite?
I wanted to do a vertical triptych and after auditioning certain fibers and metals I started assembling. It soon became not a triptych but four groupings with connecting elements.
This the quilt indoors and outside

I had a panel of pre-printed units separated by grayish turquoise fabric with handwriting on it. I used the background fabric throughout the quilt and discarded the rest of the panel. Each time I placed a section of this fabric on the quilt, I free motion quilted the word “make” continuously over the fabric. If you look at each of the sections of the quilt, you can see the word “make”. One of the important elements of this work was the unfinished raw edges of the fabric. There are clots of frayed threads all over and they are stitched over and allowed to remain wherever they lived on the linen and other fabrics. After attaching the fabrics I free motion quilted the entire piece in a stream of consciousness letting the piece tell me what direction to take.

The top quarter of the quilt is started with a row of plastic buttons. On the left is a section of fabric I painted with acrylic paints and sliced into pieces. I juxtaposed horizontal slivers of gold lamee' which I fused on. On the right is an interesting piece of batik which I fussy cut to show off the design. I stacked branch tips from a red twig dogwood bush and couched them onto the quilt. The turquoise rectangle with the word make stitched onto it also has a crow stamped onto it with gold paint.

The second quarter has another piece of cloth I painted however this piece was simply a rag I used to clean my brushes and wipe up the spills. It was so interesting I heat set the paint and free motioned the piece onto the linen. I added a piece of a felted Aryan sweater with a metal draw pull onto it. You can clearly see the words make stitched into the turquoise fabric to the left flanked by wrenches.

The third section is made with commercial fabric but it looks hand painted. On it I sewed turquoise dyed shell buttons and olive green plastic buttons. While free motioning the linen, I sew that box shape with an X in the center and sewed shell buttons with the rough outside surfaces of the shells showing. I had done a lot of what I refer to as alternating rows of stitches on the linen. I placed brass safety pins ( I love safety pins) in the same alternating rows along the left side just outside more turquoise fabric with Make stitched on the surface. I stamped tiny squares in gold paint down the entire length of the make section. I hand carved both stamps used in this piece.

The forth and bottom most section of this piece is “attached” to the third section with copper pipe supports. The base fabric is a piece of hand painted fabric sporting an “eye” of green handmade torn paper with a fused gold foil eye and a very old and pitted washer in the center. I found that washer on a walk in town and it was so smooth and felt so soft between my fingers, I knew I had to use it in a significant place in something I made. The star as well as the two keys and lock face were given to me by Karna from “Old Stuff” in Belfast. A wonderful crashed bottle cap also found on a walk was placed as a “period” at the end of the quilt. I bound the entire piece in a heavy duty brass zipper. It is 19.5 inches wide and 54 inches long. As you can see from the “inside” picture, it is now hanging in my living room.

04 April 2010

Rosalita, Woman of Mystery

I know you have all patiently listened to me go on and on about my new friend Roalita I'm equaly sure you've each had your own mental picture of what she looks like. When I think of “a Rosalita” I imagine a tall dark skinned Hispanic woman with flowing wavy black hair in a white peasant blouse and colorful gathered skirt. That's not her.
Rosalita is a year older than me, almost exactly; Our birthdays are just 2 days apart. She is a Mainer, half Scottish/Irish and half French/Native American. She is 5'3” and a ball of energy. She is creative and generous and kind and we have loads of fun together.
A few weeks ago we went to Massachusetts for a 3 day weekend. No, not a spa. The first day was almost constant driving with stops in Pembroke, MA (don't ask. We had a hard time finding it) to get some supplies at New England Quilt Supply and lunch then on to Mecca, I mean Ikea. We spent a fun few hours picking out fabric and this and that. We couldn't get too much because I was hauling my mega sewing machine and about 5 bolts of fabric in the trunk. Then we were off to Fall River.

We spent the weekend at a Dyeing workshop using both fiber reactive dyed (plant fibers) and acid dyes (protein fibers). We had romanticized (or at least I did) this magic kingdom of color, then when we got their we didn't even know it. This company is BIG and I was expecting Big. It turned out to be half of one floor of a derelict factory. Gross on the outside but bursting with color, creativity and like-minded people on the inside. What a ball. It's been a long time since I had that much fun. It was an experience that came very late in life for me but one I had always been looking for.

As much as Rosalita and I are alike, we are polar opposites in color choices. She is HOT colors: bright yellows, oranges and reds as well as muted earthy tones. I am COLD cobalt, turquoise, green and purples. At a later date, I will share photos of the fibers we dyed.

Back to my friend. As some of you know we met at a craft show where she was helping a friend tend her booth. She had one piece of her own for sale. It was mostly embroidered and very creative. The booth was across from my booth and after I was set up, decided to take a stroll around before the doors opened. I thought the booth was hers and started to comment on the quilts in the booth which I had seen at the U.M.O. show a few weeks before. Well, it didn't take more than a few minutes of talking about our work before we knew we were kindred spirits. We were almost hopping up and down with excitement about meeting each other. It's like being in a foreign land finding a fellow countryman amongst the strangers.
It's been non-stop fun since then, trying crazy things, new techniques, being happy for each other, sharing what we find when we're on our own, emailing, calling planning, making and waiting til we can get together again. It is wonderful to be on the same path, equal footing where there is no judgment only support and happiness for the good fortune of the other. We are sharing our love of art and creativity. I feel very fortunate indeed to have found someone like Rosalita. 

01 April 2010


Few know I am a third degree Reiki practitioner.  When I think of that universal energy that comes through the top of my head and out my hands, I believe the energy I refer to so frequently as my Higher Power is channeling through me. I have spent little time wondering why I keep this attunement to myself; I just do.
This quilt came to me many months ago and I sketched it in my book. Its need to become substance came to my mind and I set about to turn my thoughts into fabric.
The hand was made with dupioni silk that I hand dyed a few weeks ago in a workshop in Fall River. I had sketched this image with fingerprints and hand creases just as it appears with the aura of energy made with frayed organza radiating off the edges just as it appears. I wanted to add a symbolic element so I stenciled my hand cut spirals onto the commercially dyed background fabric and projecting spirals free motioned in holographic pink "thread" coming off the finger tips. This is an exact representation of the image that appeared in my mind.