Thursday, December 23, 2010

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to all!

It always takes me until December 15 or so to get into the Christmas swing. I love the Tony Bennett album "Snowfall", and that usually does the trick. My nephew got married on Dec. 18, and it was a beautiful wedding with Christmas decorations everywhere, shared by family and friends. Christmas has always meant family time to me - the presents are nice, but the best part is being with family.

The age old saying of Peace on Earth, Goodwill to all still applies!

Monday, November 15, 2010

New England Quilt Museum acceptance!

Great news in the mail today - I had two Art Quilts accepted for the SAQA sponsored "No Holds Barred" exhibit at the New England Quilt Museum. I'm very pleased and can't wait to see the full show. It opens in January, and will run through March. The museum prohibits artists from posting images of the quilts until the show opens, so I'll have to wait until January 20 to post photo's.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Matting Small Art Work

The New England members of SAQA are making donations for the New England Quilt Museum. The donations are all going to be 11 x 14, with the opening in the mat to be the option of the quilt artist.

My friend Fern Leslie mats and frames most of her work, and was generous enough to show me her method. The supplies are simple: purchased mat (the example is from Dick Blick), thread, small strip of archival sketchbook paper, double sided adhesive tape, and a small art quilt that will fit behind the opening.

Directions: Cut a thin strip of archival paper, slightly wider than the art quilt. Sew the top of the art quilt to the strip of paper. Place a piece of double sided tape on the back of the strip of paper. This way the fabric does not have tape on it.  Draw a line with pencil to guide you to taping the piece of paper to the back board of the mat. See below - the backing of this small art quilt is larger than the front, and the thin wool used for batting.
The art quilt sits better behind the mat if it doesn't have the bulk of a finished edge. Once the art quilt is taped to the back board of the matting, you can either put the double sided tape on the top edge of the mat board, or use a linen tape to hold the front mat board to the back. Be sure to sign your name on the front of the matboard, and include all information about the art on both the back of the art quilt, and the back of the mat board.
Doesn't this look great? Note Fern's signature on the mat, and how neat and finished the whole piece looks.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Buy ART!

2010 SAQA Benefit Auction - Starts September 20th

Over 280 pieces have been donated to the 2010 SAQA Benefit Auction.  The funds raised through the Auction are critical to supporting SAQA's exhibitions, catalogs and outreach programs.  SAQA's Benefit Auction is our biggest fundraiser.  Last year we had donations from 235 members and raised $47,325!!!

This year's Auction will begin on Monday, September 20th at 2:00 Eastern.  Price points will again be: $750, $550, $350, $250, $150 and $75.  Unsold work will be placed on the SAQA website for a month and then returned to the artist.
This is a great opportunity to start  a collection of small work that will fit on any wall. They are perfect for hanging in a triptych or one at a time as surprises in your home or office. They also make perfect gifts. All artwork is about 12" square, and can be matted and framed. Please take a look!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9/11

I was at home on 9/11 with a repairman, when my husband called and told me to turn on the TV. After seeing the video of the first plane hitting the tower, I called the repairman to the TV to watch. He looked very briefly and said in a sad voice, "there will be a war over this and nothing will be the same." I sat for the rest of the day with a neighbor, watching the horror, and worrying about the people in the Towers, and those who were trying to rescue them. And what would happen to our country.

A year later, I was in a design class and put two long rectangles up on the wall. I realized that the shape would be forever burned into my mind, and for many in the world, as the Twin Towers. I followed my thoughts, and made an art quilt. For me, I feel that the people who died that day are at peace, but so many people are still working through the feelings from that day. Hate and fear were ignited, and it has resulted in two wars, and the deaths and maiming of many troops, civilians, and not enough terrorists.

Now, the Muslim Community Center has become a symbol of terrorists, instead of the peaceful message that Islam preaches. If the terrorists had purported to be Catholics, would we say a Catholic church couldn't be built there? They were no more practitioners of Islam than Timothy McVeigh or abusive priests are true Catholics.

It is very sad that the hate the terrorists felt, has caught on with some people. Who wants to be judged by the worst of us?

Friday, September 10, 2010

SAQA Auction

The annual SAQA auction starts on September 20. Each year, members of SAQA donate 12" squares to benefit the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA). They are hoping to raise over $50,000 this year, and with the beautiful work that is available, the goal should be reached. I'm going to feature a few every few days. This is a sample of three that are abstract, and have colors that look great together. Maybe a grouping?
Carol Larson "Heat Wave"  HOT, HOT, HOT!

Leslie Carabas "Puzzle" This piece GLOWS!
Shelly Brucar "BLUSTERY DAY"  Perfect title for this piece

To learn how you can bid on these and see other works of Art go to the SAQA site.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

More Scarves to Seduce you

More scarves - Fall colors for the season. I used 2 squares as a resist on the yellow and rust one, and long rectangles on the other two. The Salmon and white one was one dye bath, the others were 2 or 3. It's time consuming, and back breaking - but the washout is always a thrill. Enjoy!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Silk Scarves - Seductive!

I named my hand dyed silk scarf business Seductive Scarves because that is how I feel about scarves. Can't have enough of them! I love to wear scarves - they seem to make any outfit more interesting, and they also keep my neck warm. They're great for travel - bring all black and white (or gray or navy) keep wearing the same clothes, and change scarves according to the weather, the destination, or mood.

I've dyed a lot in the past two weeks, to deliver to the store where I sell them. I'm also donating one to a local fundraiser for Alzheimer's Disease. Each one is different - I can't seem to repeat myself, even if I wanted to!

They are photographed so I can share them with you, and also to remind me how I made them - sometimes notes just don't do it, or get done. I'll post more soon!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Opening night!

The opening of the National Small Art Quilt show was lovely. Very diverse art, well executed. Adrienne and Roger Smith of the Main Street Art Gallery in Groton, NY were excited and did an excellent job of curating the show. It was hot, humid and raining that night. Nonetheless, I was happy to see my work "Rising" hanging, and meet other artists.
That's me with "Dreaming" and Jayne Gaskins piece on the far right. Jayne does beautiful threadwork!
You can see from these four pieces how different all of the work is. The piece on the left is by Sandra Lauterbach from California.
The piece on the left is by Lisa Chipetine of New York, and the one on the right is by Susanne Clawson of MD. Susanne lives in Silver Spring, my old hometown.
It was a good experience to see the show, meet the gallery owners, and enjoy a relaxing weekend in the Finger Lake region of NY. I made a couple of side trips - to the Earlville Opera House for the Contemporary Art Quilt Show, and the Schweinfurth Memorial Art museum for the Nancy Crow show. It was an All Art Quilts, All the time kind of weekend! Now, to the studio for me...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Honorable Mention at Main St. Art Gallery!

Rising has received an Honorable Mention award from the Main Street Art Gallery! I am so pleased to receive the honor and look forward to seeing the show tomorrow. The opening is from 5-8 pm, and it will be a good experience to meet the gallery owners, Adrienne Bea and Roger Smith, and the other artists.
Please say hello if you are coming to the opening.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

National Small Art Quilt Works

Main Street Gallery in Groton, NY has held a juried exhibition for the past three years and I've had a piece in each year. This year, I am very honored to have had two pieces accepted.

The opening is July 24, from 5-8. I'm planning on going to the opening and beaming! The exhibit will be open thru September 5, 2010.

Thirty two fiber artists from across the United States have been selected by jurors Cathy Rosa Klimaszewski, Ames Associate Director for Programs/Curator of Education, Herbert F Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell Unviersity and Roger Smith, painter, sculptor, educator and Director of The Main Street Gallery.

Both of my pieces are fabric that I dyed, quilted and then painted. The edges are satin stitched. The stitching and painting were done intuitively and I'm pleased with them.

Above is a detail of "Dreaming".

The piece below is "Rising", and is the same size. A detail is below. Hope to see you at the opening!

Monday, July 5, 2010

July brings beauty, and the beetle

Here in the Berkshires, we celebrate the Fourth of July with a great home town parade, barbecue's, lawn games, theatre, museums, concerts, intense gardening...and the birth of the Japanese Beetles, who will plague us for about two months.

Just when my roses are blooming and full of leaves, these little shiny monsters start coming out of the grass, and feeding. They eat the leaves, the buds - anything. I pick them off by hand, and drop them into a small margarine tub of soapy water. They are the only thing I enjoy KILLING! I pray for a natural predator, but guinea hens are not a real possibility for me. My dog and cat would be their natural predators...

Here's a few photo's of the things blooming in my garden - and the before and after of a rose, who was then attacked by a beetle. This was his last few seconds of life - hope he enjoyed it.

Before major damage by the Japanese Beetle....

There he/she is - destroying this bud.

On a more prosaic note - here's a bud from a beautiful lily, soon to become the flower you see below it.

I love these white echinacea's. The complexity of the center is like popArt.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Landscaping as Art

My mind has been full of the shapes, colors, textures and seasonal interest of plants. We are replacing the plants and huge amounts of pachysandra in our front yard. Thinking about the way to design a fairly large space has had my head swimming.
There are so many similar design elements to think about that it's been interesting to figure out what to plant, and how to layer the plants. Leaf shape, height and width, deciduous or evergreen...colors - so many variables and trying to visualize the final result, is as challenging as creating art.
I haven't been in the studio because I've been reading books about landscaping, visiting nurseries and friends' gardens, and dealing with living in Zone 4-5 and the plants that will grow here. The first decisions have been made and they start planting tomorrow...I'll post some before and after photo's soon. If you have a favorite plant, shrub, grass or perennial, let me know. The Old English Roses are a sure thing!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Shibori, explored

The Shibori class was wonderful. Jan is a very patient and helpful teacher, and there were other students with lots of experience. Seeing other students create their work speeds up the learning process - and adds to the inspiration. Dyeing is similar to what printing photograph's used to be for me. You put something in a tray/bucket, and after a bit of time, find something wonderful developing under your hands.

If you like the looks of this work, I recommend taking a class with Jan Myers Newbury. Her workshop schedule is here: And any chance you get to see her work, run, don't walk! Although making the fabric is intriguing, and joyful, using it in a composition is a challenge. Cutting into it feels like torture - unless you know you can make more.

This piece was done on a pole, and twisted in opposite directions. That's how you get that nice "V" shape.

Underpainted, folded in half, and put on a pole on the diagonal. Making these is so much fun because it's so exciting to see what comes out of the dye bath.
This is a close up of the one above. Love those shapes and colors, and wish I could do them on purpose...they're accidental so I may never make them again.
This was underpainted too, folded, and then clamped with two sizes of circles...pretty cool, huh?
This was underpainted, put on a pole and scrunched down with wrinkles in it... I want to do more of these.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Shibori, here I come!

I'm getting ready for a shibori class with Jan Myers Newbury at ProChemical and Dye in Fall River, MA. I've already taken the class with Jan before, but need a refresher course. Jan is an excellent teacher, and I admire her work so much. Take a look at your website, and hold onto your socks!

I'm packing PVC pipe, clamps, bobby pins, washers, rubber bands, thread, rope - anything that can be wrapped around fabric, or fabric can be wrapped around. And lots of shapes to clamp - I especially love circles, but I'm also going to try squares, triangles and long rectangles.

Will post some of the class samples after I return, and then I plan on spending summer making more fabric. Dyeing is so much fun - there's always some new combination to say "What If?"

Monday, May 3, 2010

Published in Journey Of Hope

I'm so proud that my art quilt - "Lift Every Voice and Sing for Obama" was included in the book Journey of Hope: Quilts Inspired by Barack Obama, written by Carolyn Mazloomi, with a foreword by Meg Cox. The book is beautifully done, and each artist had space to write about their work, and the thoughts behind it.

It's only $16.49 at Amazon - how do they do that?! Hardcover, great color printing, and multiple artists' depictions of an historical election. Yes, I'm very proud that my piece is included, as I believe this will be part of the President's library someday. I'm honored to think I'll be sitting on a shelf with many other books that relate to the election, and presidency of the first African American president. The quilt is now part of the collection of the Mississippi Center for Justice, so it also sits with good company.

My Art quilt included the first stanza, because the words said exactly the way I felt after the election of Barack Obama. If you don't know the words to the hymn, written by James Weldon Johnson in 1900, "Lift Every Voice and Sing" you can hear a beautiful rendition on You Tube (many others there as well), or read them:

Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
Till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand.
True to our God,
True to our native land.

Monday, April 26, 2010

ECG - More Than Skin Deep

An exhibit on Racism has been organized, and I've finished my piece, and am posting it. I titled it "More Than Skin Deep". I wanted to express the kernel of the idea of racism - that our skin color defines our intelligence, capabilities, and humanity. Instead, the fact that under our skin, we all have the same blood, organs, needs and dreams, is represented by an ECG line. To define someone by their skin color or culture is to see such only a part of the whole person.

The ECG represents the line of a normal heart. When we look beyond skin deep we see the person inside - and although we are all shaped by our families, cultures, ethnicity, environment and country, we are more than any one of those things - we are all human and we must learn to see that first when we see each other.

If we could all look within for the good in each other, imagine how it would change the world. We can start by doing it with our children, siblings, parents, partners and friends - and then expand it to everyone we meet.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Quilting designs by Leah Day

I subscribe to the Textile Arts Resource Guide blog, which always has great postings and links to lots of informative and educational articles. This link came today, and I'm so happy to be able to pass on the resource. The blog is one that is well worth subscribing to - always informative and thought provoking! Thanks to Gwen Magee for her excellent work.

Leah Day is posting quilt design fillers - and has a video for each design. It is a real gift to all quilters for her to do this work, and make it available for free. The site is 365 Days of Free Motion Quilting Filler Design Project, and should be bookmarked by all.

I have a terrible time deciding how I will quilt a piece. There are just too many options! But this site will help me get more focused on what it is I want my stitches to "say", and will be a wonderful resource.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Inspiration from New Mexico

I love making spontaneous compositions with the camera. There were plenty of opportunities using the shadows and architecture in Northern New Mexico. The adobe changes color as the daylight changes, and the texture always shows that a human hand has made this material. The wood beams, doorways, and trees create interesting shadows and lines.

Just for fun!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The next day, we visited Ghost Ranch, where O'Keefe had a summer home. It's surrounded by dramatic cliffs, and you can see the Pedernal that she painted numerous times. She said that God told her if she painted it enough, he would give it to her.
The open sky, dramatic and ancient cliffs, with mountain ranges in each direction made me have a much better understanding of the Native American sense of Mother Earth. My feet were on the ground, my eyes were on the sky, and the earth all around was stunning. There is a real sense of the way the landscape has been made by glaciers, and that it is continually changing - whether daily or over time, and that my lifetime is less than a blink of the eye in the totality of things. I kept thinking that in this beauty, I could die and truly become part of the universe again.

Ghost Ranch is now owned by the Presbyterian Church, and holds retreats for groups and individuals. It would be a fantastic place for a retreat, or for hiking and meditation.
I'm going to post some photo's, because I think they say it better than words.

We did a tour with a docent at the O'Keefe Museum , and were able to see many paintings that were new to us. The exhibit included quotes from O'Keefe, and I really enjoyed reading her words. She was a fiercely independent, kind, generous and spiritual person, who was so dedicated to her work that she had little patience for anything outside of it.

We toured her house in Abiquiu, about an hour north of Santa Fe, and saw her kitchen, living area, studio, bedroom, and the black door on the adobe wall, that she had painted many times. No photo's - visitors are not allowed to bring any kind of camera, or even a phone on the tour. The tour guide showed copies of her work, while showing the scene she had painted. It was obvious that she was able to isolate the elements of the scene she most wanted to illustrate, and use heightened colors to represent the feeling she had about the landscape. I loved being able to look at her brushstrokes - which are barely visible, and the way she was able to make shapes that have such round, sensuous shapes out of very rugged country.

It was raining on and off, so I wasn't able to get too many photo's - this one of the red rock cliff is from a bit further up the road. The sun kept going in and out of the cloud's and changing the light. It was a truly awe inspiring scene. (You may get sick of me using that phrase!)

O'Keefe's New Mexico

I was able to spend a week in Northern New Mexico, with my husband, my favorite traveling companion. We flew into Albuquerque, and drove to Santa Fe, and Taos. Georgia O'Keefe's work had been shown at the Clark Art Institute last summer, and I fell in love with her work. So our goal was to go to the O'Keefe Museum, and tour the houses where she lived.

We stayed at a little B & B in Albuquerque and acclimated to the altitude. At first, the local scenery didn't appeal to me - the main impression was of very dry, yellow/gray everywhere. Then, the colors of the desert started to make themselves known. I appreciated the subtly of the sage, straw, pinion and juniper. And the sky was so HUGE!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Seductive Scarves

Another dye packed fun week - mostly scarves for sale at a local gift shop. I'm posting a few of my favorites - it's always hard to send them off when I'd rather be wearing them!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Who Does She Think She Is? documentary

I haven't seen this documentary before, but the trailer already has me fascinated. It's titled "Who Does She Think She Is?" and is about Women Artists who are also mothers. The struggle for studio time, balanced with family and work, the lack of understanding and appreciation for the time it takes to make Art. And of course, the perennial problem for women - to be taken seriously.

I asked my local independent theater, Images, to screen the film, and they will be showing it on April 5, in Williamstown, MA. One of my passions is film, and especially documentaries. I love learning about the way people's live are lived, and how different, and alike, they are from mine.

After I've seen it, I'll post a review. Meanwhile, see if you can get it shown near you - and let followers know your opinion.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

12 inch square

Studio Art Quilt Associates has an auction each year to raise money for the organization. They auction off 12" squares online, and last year they raised over $47,000! I'm planning on submitting a piece and am considering this one, which I've named "Skylight" .
The fabrics are all my own hand dyes, except for the black. It's ready to hang, although I think it would look great in a square, black frame.