30 July 2013

EPP part 2

In her book, Jessica mentioned either pre-cut paper pieces or Mylar pieces. Being "frugal" - code for cheap, I went with the more durable Mylar pieces. I found a source in her book: Brandy's Quilt Patterns. I bought one packet of each (between 55-66 pieces). They came today. Below are the pieces (with the hole in the center for easy removal), a paper pattern for cutting out the fabric, a cut 1" Plexiglas hexagon key ring (a nice touch) and a free 4" ruler (another nicety).

 I will use the paper patterns to measure how wide to cut the fabric with my rotary cutter. I will cut a large selection of fabrics from my project stash

As of right now, I know nothing about English Paper Piercing other than what I have read. TODAY I start with the rotary cutting and wrapping the fabric around the pieces and stitching them into place. I will probably do a lot of this while watching Netflix at night. You can get a really good feel for the process by checking out the book on Amazon because it is a "look inside" book and also on Jessica's blog. She has some great posts.
Another interesting thing happened. Saturday, my good friend Linda went to breakfast with me and she bought me this really cute basket.

Not only is it turquoise, green and purple (it doesn't get any better than that), I suddenly realized that THIS will be the perfect container to tote my pieces and supplies around in to appointments. Is this great or what!!!! More about the pieces on Tuesday.

On a personal note

I had another sudden realization the other day (more + energy at work) and I thought I'd share it with you. I sent this great realization on to many of my friends this past weekend and this is what the email said.

I just decided that I no longer have cancer since it was cut out. I am now embarking on treatments to insure the cancer I HAD does not return. You know this is in fact true and makes much more sense than "claiming" cancer when indeed it has been removed. I will regard my chemo and radiation as "body purification" .
Yeah...and now on with life!!!

and on with art

25 July 2013

Traditional Hand Piecing - OH NO!!!!

I am going to be spending some time in chemo and radiation over the next months plus will probably have some days of fatigue so I thought , what better than to work on a "Recovery Quilt" to pass the time and have tangible evidence of my recovery. I'm not sure how all these thoughts are popping into my mind but I believe all the positive energy and prayers of friends are acting as a conductor of wonderful thoughts. Well, one of these thoughts was to do a totally portable English Paper Pieced quilt.

 I am using my own hand dyed fabric although I am adding a bit of snow dyed fabric Nienke sent me as well. I am doing no real "design" just adding the pieces as they come to my hand. I am using 2" squares and 2" 60 degree triangles because I kind of like the way it moves.

This is a picture of the 4 piece unit and how it goes together.

Mine will be random pieces like this in my favorite colors. More about this Tuesday. It will look a bit like this (at least the random part) - not the star part

23 July 2013

How dedicated are you to art quilting and surface design?

Jane Charles, a visitor to my blog recently started a 2 month long project teaching surface design and quilting to over 400 school children. She crafted projects for each age group including dyeing, embroidering, shibori, indigo dyeing, sun printing and using marking devices to make blocks for this incredible quilt.
On her blog she starts with the inception of the project here; to quote from her blog post:

A few short weeks ago I came up with a great idea to make a quilt with children at our local school to celebrate their Centenary. It would involved every child in the school, a combined rather large school of 420+ children ranging from 3-11years. The Head very kindly agreed that it would be a great idea and after a couple of meetings I came up with a plan. Did I mention that he wanted it in the school Summer carnival, which was only 6 weeks away from the start date? No pressure there then....

The scope of this project is mind-boggling to me and I am just reading about it, not doing it!!. This is truly a labor of love, love of art, surface design, teaching and children. My hat is totally off to you Jean. 

The grand finale can be seen here.

18 July 2013


Ten years ago I doubt if I knew what a blog was. Now I have 6. This is the main blog and where I put most of my time. I also have my Surface Design Workshop blog which is a business blog, my What I can see from here watercolor blog, my Maine Coast Fiberarts which is where I moved everything from my website when I closed it down. I started a private blog for a few friends who wanted to work on Jane Dunnewolds book, Finding your own Visual Language and I grabbed my name as a blog just because.

When I was getting my masters degree, an important part of my research was spent defining what constituted community. What is community? Basically what community came down to was a group of people united by an ethnicity (Italian), a cause (Earth First), a location (neighborhood) or any other major impetus that united them. In the literature back as far as 1997 when I was writing, researcher alluded to internet communities. I thought this was absurd. How could you have a community of people who can't even see one another. Well...now I know.

A community of people have come to this blog and interacted, shared their thoughts and in many cases their life stories with me via email and I feel as close to those people as any friends I have here in Maine. Some of those connections are 4 years old.

Now I have some unpleasant news to share with my online community. A few weeks ago I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. The 11th, I had surgery to removed the "lump" along with all my lymph nodes in my arm pit. Tuesday, the 16th, I will have a bone scan and CT scan to see if there is cancer anywhere else. My chemo starts in 3 weeks and afterward radiation. Both of these treatments will leave me a bit fatigued.

My goal is to continue to keep up this blog only for as long as I can even if it is only one post a week. I find it therapeutic plus I have come to really appreciate contact with all of my online friends.

This may have been a poor venue for sharing my recent news but there is really no good way of delivery these facts. I struggled with telling those who read my blog at all but I just felt it was the right thing to do.

So keep posted and I will keep sharing my adventures in surface design and life in general.

16 July 2013

Textile Artist

I could spend nearly all day reading through the articles on this rather new website. It was started by Joe and Sam Pitcher, the sons of textile artist Sue Stone.
In the "About" section they tell their story of their love of textile art and why they started their organization. Their mother Sue Stone has done some amazing work and her tale of growing in the textile field is interesting as well.
However, this site really shines through the intelligent articles, interviews and discussions. Please check it out as well as Sue's own website, Woman with a Fish

11 July 2013

New Wallet

I have been carrying the same wallet for over 30 years. It still looks new but it was from an era when people carried their planners with them. I also liked it because it had lots of credit card slots and many unique plastic pages that held stamps, business cards and photographs.

I don't work in health care anymore and my planner is online. I only have one credit card and my debit card so I wanted to go smaller. One of the reasons my purses are so wide was because of the size of my wallet.

Now of course you must have guessed already that I took no process photos but I can explain what I did. I also downloaded a free wallet pattern that I didn't use except for the idea behind the credit card slots. It was one long piece of fabric folded back and forth then stitched down the center. Check out the pattern for the photos of this folding method.

Since a wallet says a lot about you, I decided to use my MOST favorite piece of fabric EVER. It is deconstructed silk screen fabric.

Flap held with a small piece of Velcro. I wanted something I could open with one hand.

Now this is why I really created this post. Remember when I bought my new machine and I showed you the black electrical tape that comes straight out from the center needle position? I use it for making PERFECT binding strips.

You lay the two pieces of binding fabric right sides together with a slight V at the top and bottom. Instead of wasting fabric and time trying to make a perfect 45 degree seam, you can get the same results with almost no effort.

See the "notch" or V sitting on the tape line, top and bottom.

Stitch there

When the seam is open, the strip (binding) will be perfectly straight.

The End

09 July 2013

Human Marks Workshop at the Art Greenhouse

June 22 The Art Greenhouse hosted a Human Marks workshop. We had a great time. The first thing we did before the projected rains came was to use a broom, wallpaper paste brush and various other implements to make India Ink marks on watercolor paper. One of he participants also brought HEAVY Kraft paper. I loved the paper and she gave me the leftovers to make a sketchbook for chalk sketches. More about this in the future!!

Getting our gear ready

And this is a little slide show of our day!!

04 July 2013

Testing fabric paint on sheer and fine fabrics

Again I am using Dye-Na-Flow and ProChemical and Dye Designer Colors on various lighter weights of fabric. I want to do some layering and hand stitching and I would like to use some vibrant colors so this is my idea. These are liquid highly saturated paints. I may try some Seta-Silk as well, I'll see.
I just ordered some voiles and lawn and gauze from Dharma but until they come , these will be my "test subjects".

 Very stiff buckram from a millinery supply house
 medium weight non-woven stabilizer for use with embroidery machine
 medium stiff stabilizer for embroidery machine use
same thing

all three after washing to soften. The very stiff buckram shrived up into the skinny piece and the woven stabilizer stayed pretty much the same except softer.

woven stabilizer (left) next to IRONED buckram (right)

 Five other fabrics
 White Rayon (L) and Silk Haboti (R)
 silk chiffon (L) and silk voile (R)
tightly woven cheese cloth (very stable) unlike cheese cloth for the kitchen

02 July 2013

Test Scarf

During the silk scarf batik workshop, I laid out a white silk scarf on my demo table to show various techniques for applying melted wax and paints. If you want to see what a certain color paint (Dye-Na-Flow) looks like on the haboti, you can give it a spin on my test scarf. If you want to see what mark an implement makes, you can test it on the test scarf.
After everyone left the workshop and I was cleaning up, I found a lot of little cups of various paints left over and my test scarf was just sitting there all innocent so I decided to apply all the left over paint to the test scarf and see what I got. I was surprised how I liked some of the results!!!