Saturday, December 31, 2011

How long did it take you to make that?

People always want to know "How long did it take to make that?" It's hard to say - because do you count the time while you think, and think, and think, about what you could do on the design wall? And about the mistakes, the do overs, and the unsewing (otherwise known as ripping out stitches)? Designing takes a long time, and it's hard to keep track of that time, because it's going on even while you're doing other things. Or, standing in front of the design wall and trying to figure out what it was I thought I was going to do! Your time may vary...

Deidre Adams is a well known art quilter who documented the design and creation of a commissioned piece on her blog. She made a wonderful stop action film that shows the sewing together part of her process, which I thought was great. Deidre has given me permission to repost it here:
Deidre Adams piecing a commission

She posted 7 times about creating the "Life on the Eastern Plains" piece, and it's well worth reading her well written and documented posts. She also has a video about painting the work - her own unique style of working. Deidre painting the work

Deidre's work is very atmospheric in my opinion, and she was an excellent choice for this commission. I'm sure the new owners are thrilled that they are able to enjoy this art work all the time.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Unspoken Truth featured in Quilters Newsletter

I'm part of the Fiber Artists for Hope group of Art Quilters. We have made art about social issues, and our group exhibit of "The Unspoken Truth About Color: A Dialogue in Art Quilts About Racism" has been travelled around the country. It has now been published in the Quilters Newsletter, with some of the Art Quilts from the exhibit. Mine isn't in there, but I feel the exhibit is well represented. If you don't subscribe, you can pick up an issue in the library if you want to take a look, or check out our blog:

It's good to know that the issue of racism is getting attention and venues are willing to show it - and share the message that we are all part of the human race!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks giving

There are so many reasons to be grateful. I am very blessed in the wonderful relationships I have with family, friends, community, and art. In the spirit of today, I'm posting a link to an enormously beautiful film on gratitude. It is truly worth your time to watch it, and get in touch with the things we have to be grateful for everyday. It is a film that would be a wonderful way to start every day.

Louie Schwartsberg films the natural world - in 24 hour segments. A young girl talks about imagination and an old man talks about gratitude.  The visuals and music are stunning. Mesmerize yourself for a few minutes!
Louie Schwartsberg - "Gratitude"

Thank you for reading this, thank you for sharing your thoughts, thank you for being interested in art and community. I am grateful for you!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Yellow and Orange Circles

The workshop work continues - the series using circles is still on my table for finishing many of the compositions. I learned that layering and adding more lines and shapes made for a more successful composition with "Going In Circles".
This new piece is teaching me different lessons - it seems the most important one is to vary the sizes, so they don't become boring. This is what I've done so far -
Sunset Circles in process - unfinished.
I think it needs a larger circle over some part of it. Maybe white organza?
I'll get to work on it tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Series workshop assignments 4 and 5

The series workshop is completed, and was a GREAT learning experience. I hadn't posted about the last two assignments, but Lisa Call wrote about my work in the workshop on her blog today, which motivated me to post the assignments. Thanks Lisa!

The fabric dyeing for each assignment became overwhelming due to time constraints. I have been dyeing circles for awhile, with the thought that someday I would figure out what to do with them. The workshop helped me realize I needed to do more planning ahead, and dye for composition.

One of the options for exercise number 4 was to use lines in the composition. Lisa sent links to many artists that used lines and made me really think about how to add lines into my work.

I had an Alexander Henry fabric that was white with black lines. I had already dyed some of it multi-colors. I used a curry dye, and clamped circles of different colors in an arc. Getting the lines onto the ground of the design meant I'd completed that part of the assignment already. Ever the conscientious student...
 This is what the fabric looks like - it's a great fabric, huh?
For the 4th assignment, I broke the design into three sections, adding a strip of a pole dyed shibori, and a small piece of red. The arc of the circles needed more definition, so I added arcs in black tulle. Members of my critique group gave me some great feedback. Adding red, was one suggestion, which I really liked. Here's the assignment that I posted for that week:
In progress composition

By the next week, I had company for the week that I hadn't figured into my studio scheduling, so I decided that instead of starting from scratch, I would develop assignment 4 into a completed composition for the last assignment. I really wanted to play with transparency and depth, and see if the lines could be accentuated. I spent a lot of time standing in front of the wall with various size arcs and circles, in tulle and organza. I finished it, photographed it, and am ready to try for some juried exhibits.  I added a black binding, because I felt it really made it pop with the black on the edging.
Going In Circles c.2011 32" x 38"

I'm very thankful for Lisa having the foresight to design this workshop, and to always be one step ahead of the class and their journey. I'd recommend the workshop to anyone who is hoping to find their own voice, institute better studio habits - and grow in their art. The other class participants were very helpful too - watching what others do is always good for inspiration.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Series Assignment #3

The series workshop with Lisa Call is completed, and it helped me get into a better, more disciplined studio practice. I worked so hard that I didn't have time to blog - that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

One of the choices for the design exercise was to turn multiple shapes into one shape. I dyed circles into a large radiating circle. The week ran out before I really felt that I had a developed composition.
The dyed circles felt too flat without an addition to them, so I tried red first - complementary colors usually add zing.
1st try at composition #3
I really liked the way the red popped, but it felt like the red fabric was too flat. A switch to a more subtle and mottled dyed fabric seemed to work better.  I still don't feel like I have a completed composition, but I'll get back to it soon.
unfinished composition for assignment #3 about 36" square
The composition feels too symmetrical, so I plan to make it less so in the next iteration. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Interpretations 2011 at Visions Art Museum

I'm honored - and floating on air! My art quilt "Grief" was juried into the Interpretations 2011 exhibit at the Visions Art Museum in San Diego, CA. The show opens on November 4, and runs through January 22.
Grief c.2009 22" x 36"

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A decade after 9/11

War and Peace by Jeanne Marklin

Peace to all who lost family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and heroes that day

Peace to all who watched and felt helpless
Peace to all who felt anger and revenge, and have known no peace since 9/11
Peace to all who fought for the cause of peace, and have found no peace
Peace to our country and it's people
Peace to all the people of the world
May this anniversary move us toward the love and community we felt that day for one another
And away from everything that is not peace.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Series Assignment #2

The second assignment was supposed to build on the first (as in a series...get it?). I was hoping to do more with depth, by using different sizes and values, but screwed up in the dyeing. I forgot to write down the amount of dye I used for the darkest and largest circles(highest contrast) pieces, and ended up with the smaller circles being much darker. The opposite of my planned composition. So, I gave up on the idea of the large circles looking closer, and the smaller one in the background.

I really love blue and white, and I thought I would simplify my work by keeping the piece one color with white. I overdyed some very light batiks to see how that would look, and I actually liked it. The patterning of the batik is barely visible when seen from a distance, but up close, it gives it some interesting lines.

There's nothing wrong with your monitor - I didn't have the autofocus turned on in the camera, and without my glasses, I didn't realize it was out of focus! It's off the design wall for now, because we're on to assignment 3. That white square up in the left hand corner will be solid blue.

During the one on one phone call with Lisa, she emphasized that the series had to be something that I LOVED. I'm not loving this series, although I feel compelled to explore more. Lisa says that you may make 10 or more pieces in a series before you know where you're going with it. That has helped me to feel that I can keep going and just explore - and not to feel pressured to make only work that is worth exhibiting. None of the assignments are sewn together. If I sew them together, it will be with the commitment to quilt them as well. As a famous b-t-ch said "I'll think about that tomorrow"!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Working in a Series part. 2

This is a continuation from the last post about the online workshop I'm taking from Lisa Call, on "Working in a Series". 

The challenge of dyeing for each assignment continues - my back really doesn't like standing over buckets, and especially the cleaning up part! But then again, my back doesn't like cleaning up - period. Does yours? I had to miss out on the Lowell quilt shows and SAQA regional meeting - the first time in 5 years. I used the day to dye more fabric for Assignment #2.

Lisa sends us reading material and links to articles and websites that are very helpful. So far, we've read and conversed about Responsibility and Accountability. Both really good things to remember for being productive in the studio. It was the Accountability reading that made me recognize that if I'm going to put my art first, I have to be accountable for it. Missing out on the Lowell shows and meeting was a hard decision to make, because I find looking at Art Quilts, and interacting with friends and fellow artists to be inspiring - but I was feeling really pressed about getting the fabric ready for the second assignment. I don't live in an area with a large art quilt community, so even though I drive for 3 hours to get to Lowell, it's always been a highlight for me.

The action of deciding to put my art first is a way of taking control of my life, and steering it in the direction I want it to go. Prioritizing, sacrificing, being clear with myself are all necessary to growing, and can be painful at times. The time I've spent in the studio lately has been frustrating. I'm not sure I know where I want to go with this series. There are so many possibilities. At the same time, in order to make those possibilities happen, I need to gain more control over the dyeing process. That will take time, and remembering to keep my eyes on the goal, and enjoy the process. Some days, it's hard to remember that making art is about the process, because I want each composition to be great. No artist is great all the time, and it's too much pressure to put on myself. I'll have to repeat that many times in my own ear! I think it's a common thought, right?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New Series

I signed up for an online workshop with Lisa Call several weeks ago, and it's already been a fruitful endeavor. The workshop is on "Working in a Series", and Lisa is walking us through the steps of focusing on a subject, and setting design parameters.

Lisa is very tech savvy, so she has set up a website for the workshop, and we each have our own site and pages. It's pretty user friendly. I'm keeping a journal so I can keep track of my ideas, and all the things I've tried - whether they worked or not.

My series is going to focus on circles. I've been intrigued by all the possibilities there are in clamping circles as resists. The choices for dyeing in different hues and values seems to be - unlimited. But it's not! I will be learning about color and dye forever...

My initial thought was to use analogous colors and white, and to organize the circles as I would a family portrait. That was a way for me to get started on the design. I did stick with the colors - yellow, orange, red, and love the way white brightens up everything. Since my art training was in photography, it is still easier for me to think of looking through a viewfinder, and organizing the composition that way. Whatever works to make the design process a little less painful. I'm not sure this looks like a family portrait, but it helped me to figure out a way into the design.

I plan to design tops - and sew them together if I can. Since the assignments are due each week, and I dye my fabrics for each project, I know I may not get them sewn together. But if I photograph them, and pin them to a backing, I can finish them at the end of the 8 week workshop.

It's helped me to be better structured in my day - and in the studio or dyeing everyday. Lightens my mood, and stirs my juices. Worth the cost already!

Here is my first composition. The back ground is pieced, except for the middle seam. The rest is pinned. Can't wait to see where these circles lead me.
composition in progress 33" x 38"

Friday, July 29, 2011

How to buy Art

I read a great blog post from another SAQA member about how to buy Art on a modest budget. I thought it was valuable enough to post the link here to June Underwood's blog post.

Although I look at Art all the time - galleries, museums, books and Internet sites, I rarely think about buying. And then I see something that just speaks to me - like it's a message to my soul, and then, I try to buy it. I've never been sorry about those purchases, and they give me years of pleasure. If I know the artist, it's even more special. The connection remains as a feeling of communion. I may not feel the same thing the artist intended, but that the art made both of us feel something.

Art can be found everywhere, and it can deeply add to your daily life. If you find something you would like to live with, but can't afford right away, sometimes an artist or gallery can set up a payment plan. I know that I am always pleased when my Art moves someone, and if they like a work enough to want to bring it home, I want them to be able to do so. Art is a way of communicating, and it feels good to connect with another person on that level.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain

I visited Barcelona, Spain in June, and loved the architecture. Although I have seen many cathedrals in Europe, La Sagrada Familia is the only one where it seemed that the architect was truly inspired by God to build this cathedral.

Antoni Gaudi felt that Nature was God's Art, and tried to bring natural forms into all of his designs. In La Sagrada Familia (Sacred Family), the columns are the shape of tree trunks, and they reach up into the sky with branches spreading out, so it feels you are walking in a forest, with light flooding in from the sky.
Columns and winding staircase
When you look up, the ceiling looks like stars, or flowers -
The branches are holding up the sky
The interior is light filled - Gaudi wanted it to feel light, airy and full of sunshine. It's the brightest cathedral I've ever been in.
This is a large opening to the sky, that glows with light and those triangular shapes. I found it hypnotic!
The altar is surrounded by stained glass - all colors in simple shapes - not the usual figures or bible stories. The crucifix is floating off of a circular shape with grape vines hanging off it.
The organ pipes reflect the colors of the stained glass.
Although I had seen photo's of the outside of the building, it was a surprise to see the size of the building, and how it is a small block, surrounded by office and residential buildings. Hard to believe Gaudi had the vision to start this in 1883 and worked on it until his death in 1926. It is still far from finished. While you are touring the cathedral, there are workmen moving around the building, and cranes working over head. It's still undergoing work, and may not be finished for another 25 years.

The flower forms on the top of a couple of the spires.
This little building is the school that Gaudi designed for the children of the people who worked on La Sagrada Familia. It's all waves and curves and fun angles.

Just a taste of the amazing forms and ideas that Gaudi was able to design - and figure out how to build. I'll post about a few more Barcelona sights soon. If you can be lucky enough to visit Barcelona - don't miss any of them!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sacred Threads

Through true serendipity, I had a 3 hour layover at Dulles Airport, which timed exactly with the Artist Reception at the opening of the Sacred Threads exhibit in Herndon, VA. I got out of the airport as fast as possible and into a cab, and was at the show in 15 minutes.

From the Sacred Threads website:
"Founder Vikki Pignatelli and the other committee members wanted to create a dignified exhibit of artwork that would touch all those who viewed it on both spiritual and personal levels. We wanted to share the experiences of quilters whose stories would be a source of healing and strength for others by allowing the artist to submit a statement which would be exhibited with the artwork that described the meaning or inspiration for the piece.  We also encourage attendees to complete artist comment forms if they are particularly moved by a quilt - these are returned to the artists with their quilt." After mounting the exhibit for semi-annually for many years in Columbus, Ohio, Vicki asked for volunteers to take over the responsibility, and Lisa Ellis and Christine Adams of VA stepped up to the challenge.

In 2007, I had made a quilt about 9/11, but never found a call for entry that it seemed to fit. When I mentioned on the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) listserve that I'd like to find a venue for this art quilt, Lisa wrote that the Sacred Threads exhibit might be a good match. I entered the piece, and it was juried in.

Unexpectedly, I made it to the opening. There were several women I knew there, and I was happy to get to catch up a little bit. One of my sisters had met me there, and it was great to be able to share the exhibit with her. There are many quilts that have very personal meanings, and the artist statements are moving. My sister and I both had our mouths hanging open in front of a couple of quilts. The opening was crowded, which was great. I'd love to return and take more time to view the work.

If you are in the DC area, go see the show, and I promise you will be moved, inspired, and new thoughts may be provoked. I'm posting a couple of photo's although I don't know all of the artists.
Jeanette Thompson of Chicago, IL
 The quilt on the left is titled "Abuela" by Jennifer Day. The quilt on the right is by Kate Themal, of Cheshire, CT. She had two exquisite quilts in the show.
Sherry Boram of Indiana, made the piece on the left. It is about the Golden Rule being a part of every major religion. I loved the banners displaying the various ways it is expressed in the 13 different religions. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Spring colors

Blue Spruce - nest?
We redid the landscaping in our front yard, and I'm enjoying watching things bloom. We've had so much rain, that everything seems to be growing at it's happiest.  Here's a couple of photo's of the colors that are coming up in my yard -  I love the tenderness of Spring colors.
Kousa Dogwood     
 I'm off for a wonderful trip in Spain. I'll try to post as I can!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Inspiration from Cory Booker

A great speaker can make you laugh, cry, think deeply, and also be memorable. Cory Booker was the commencement speaker at Williams College last weekend, and he did all of that and made you want to be a better person too!
One of the many challenges he made to the graduates was to avoid becoming homogenized - everyone starts out as individuals, but the world has a way of wearing you down and becoming more alike. Booker encouraged the graduates to maintain their integrity, and not to become someone who just goes along. He told many stories about the love of his family, and their ebullient support for him. Booker talked about learning the most from the most disadvantaged, whose struggles made them resourceful and strong. He encouraged the students and audience to be kind, every day.

I can't do justice to his gifted speaking, so I'm posting the link. Many said he was the best commencement speaker they had ever heard. If Cory Booker ever runs for President, he has my vote!
Listen, and be prepared to be moved.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


MassMoca (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) in N. Adams, MA is a treat for the contemporary art lover to visit.
Exhibits stay a long time - the longest is the Sol Lewitt exhibit - he has three stories in a building for 25 YEARS!
The building is as interesting as the art in many ways. It's an old textile factory with numerous buildings. Some have been repurposed as office buildings; there's a restaurant and an antique store too. MassMoca also has a good cafe, concerts, plays, kids activities - and gift shop of course! Check out the website and you get a good sense of how stimulating a visit can be.

I have visited the Sol Lewitt exhibit at least 5 times, and still enjoy it. The website allows you to view the show, but seeing it in the museum is something else - the windows, floors and industrial feel of the building play very well with the art. There is also a video about the student's and artists who did all the work, right on the walls. Sol Lewitt wanted art to be accessible to all, so he made up plans that can be executed on any size wall, anywhere. They'll all be a little different, according to the size of the walls, but the composition, and the color always works. It's an amazing tribute to Lewitt that he was given carte blanche to pick out a space for this retrospective and know it would be there for 25 years. Sadly, he died before the exhibit was finished, but he was able to see it in process, and know his life's work would continue to be viewed by thousands.
A winter view of the exterior and link to the Lewitt exhibit

This green and red wall vibrates the eyes!

Is the line up of the yellow line serendipity, or planned?

There are many black and white paintings -

I'm posting a few photo's, but recommend that you make a visit to the museum. It's in the beautiful Berkshires, and there is so much to do here!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I like to title things that make you click on them! The stimulation I am referring to is the experience of being with other artists, hearing about Art, looking at Art, discussing our work - soaking up the experience of being with other people focused on expressing themselves through Art.

 It's a rare experience for me, because I live in a small town and don't get out much. Probably my own fault for not reaching out more in the community. I have started a critique group, and that is very exciting.
The recent Studio Art Quilt Association conference in Denver was well done, with interesting and helpful workshops, and lots of networking going on. It's a real buzz to be in a room with almost 200 other women (only a few male spouses attended), and know we're all thrilled to be immersing ourselves for a few days in Art Quilts. NOT literally - these are wall art, not bed quilts, in case you didn't know that. Here are a few for you viewing pleasure - we couldn't see the titles or names, but I'm pretty sure I have the right artists for these-

Sue Cavanagh

Terri Stegmiller

I'm pretty sure this is by Cathy Kleeman.
This is the 3rd SAQA conference I have attended, and each time I get more out of the time spent. And, I've made some friends who are really adventurous and fun to be with - we laugh for hours! I took a few photo's of the SAQA trunk show.  These are small pieces that will travel to regions all over the country, and some to other countries, so SAQA members can see all the possibilities of cloth, thread, paint, dye, beads, stitching, found objects and every possible combination.

If you're looking for a place to explore the artist in you, and like fabric, SAQA is a great organization to help you grow.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

SAQA Visioning Conference

I'm attending the SAQA Annual conference again this year. It's in Denver, so I'm looking forward to having some city time, as well as learning about marketing art. Since I've attended the last few conferences, and was a SAQA rep for 3 years, I've made friends, and love catching up with them.

A few of the workshops are particularly interesting to me at this point - Regina Benson is doing one on "Marketing with Pizazz", and since she is doing a great job marketing her work, it should be very helpful.
Kris Sazaki and Deb Cashatt, also known as the Pixeladies, are doing a workshop on Photoshop Elements, and I need all the help I can get using PE!

I will post some photo's and comments after the conference. Next year's is in Philadelphia, in conjunction with SDA.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Guinea Hen, anyone?

     I woke this morning to a sound like metal scrapping on metal, but recognizable as a bird "song". It seemed like it was probably a crow that was imitating the sound of a drill on metal, but I mostly thought it would go away, and I went back to sleep. A sure sign that I can sleep through almost anything!
     This afternoon, I saw the culprit - a large guinea hen. One thing I know about guinea hens is that they eat Japanese Beetles - which have been attacking my roses every summer. But the beetles come out around the 4th of July - and I don't need this screeching until then. Not sure it's a good trade off anyway - sleep for more beautiful roses?
I was able to photograph the guinea hen with a new telephoto lens - they have beautiful dotted black and white feathers.

  To discourage this hen from hanging around, I've let my dog out a few times to chase him away. Don't worry - the dog won't catch the bird - he's about the same size as the bird, and the bird can fly up to branches. It makes it's awful screeching sound, and that scares the dog too. I'm just hoping the bird will decide there's a better place to peck around so I don't have this all summer. There is plenty of land around to move on to - and a wildlife preserve very close. Don't they read the signs?

 The pleasures of living in the country, are often the same as the drawbacks. Nature is beautiful, it's peaceful and quiet, and we get to watch deer, foxes, bobcats, wild turkeys - and now guinea hens.
And these photo's might help inspire a quilt - I've always loved Black, White and Red together, and that little bit of yellow on the bird's bill is a nice touch.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dad's gone

My father, Robert Marklin, died on April 18, at the awesome age of 90. Given his poor health, lack of energy, mobility and interest in life, it was a blessing. Now that he has passed on, I am remembering the man who used to be, and missing him. Over the past 5 years or so, I was adjusting to having a relationship with a small echo of the man who was my father, and grieved after each visit for the man I missed. At the same time, my father became more verbally affectionate than he had ever been, and let down some of his defenses to be more emotionally open. I treasure those times when he told me he really missed me when I wasn't there, and that something I had done was fantastic.

My family gathered together this past weekend to celebrate my father's life, and share memories and stories. With 6 children in the family, there are so many different perspectives. I felt strongly that there should be a eulogy, and wrote one. However, public speaking is very anxiety producing for me, so my husband ended up presenting it at the funeral service. I hope that I passed on many of the values my father and mother gave me. Here's the eulogy as I wrote it:

     We all want to be remembered. After 90 years, there is a lot to remember of my father's life. My memory of him is shaped by being his daughter, and the 3rd of 6 children.

     I think my father wanted to be remembered for his efforts to be a good husband, father, Pop Pop, great grandpa, and provider for his wife and children. He was all those things, as well as wise, stoic, smart and funny. As adults, I don't think we ever spent time with Dad without laughing, and also saying “how come you can never give a straight answer?”

     He did, of course, give straight answers when it was needed. My brothers and sisters have been talking about the things he said that stayed with us, and that we hoped our own children would also incorporate into their beings.

     My favorite was "To thine own self be true",  a quote from Shakespeare that was a little mysterious to me when I was young, but which I came to appreciate. It meant to follow my conscience, because I knew what was right if I thought deeply about it. We had learned right and wrong from our parents, our most important role models.

     Dad also used to say that “if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” Those words come back to me every time I buy something that has to be put together with un-decipherable directions!

     Dad also told us “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” Wise words to follow, and sometimes, very difficult. He followed them always – I can’t remember him saying a harsh word about anyone.

     My sister Christine's youngest son, Michael has already told her how he knows "you can't buy back your reputation": your words and actions reflect on who you are. Michael heard those words as we did, and he knows those are important words to live by.

     As an insurance salesman for 35 years, my father knew those were also the words his business, and reputation were built upon. I remember him talking about advocating for his clients. For the people who had been in accidents or had their house burn down, or lost a loved one. Dad would call the Home office and do his best to move things along and help his clients when they really needed it. I suspect there is a saying about insurance salesman similar to the one about lawyers. Nobody likes them until you need them! I’m sure my Dad was “needed” by many people over those 35 years.

A few years ago, my father told me that at one point, his manager had admonished him for selling policies to African Americans. Dad told the manager "their money is as good as anyone's and I'm selling to them". He got that look of angry indignation that he could get when things were just plain wrong. Hearing this story touched me deeply then as is it still does now.

Since my fathers death, I've been thinking back over how much he changed the past few decades. When we were growing up, all he had to say was "Jeannie" in that deep way he could do, and I would snap to it! He commanded our attention and obeyance, just through his voice.
I was telling someone the other day that when we were young, and making a raucous before going to sleep, he would yell up the stairs "if I have to come upstairs I'm going to knock your heads together". You can bet that we'd quiet down!  Although he never came upstairs, we just knew when he had had enough of our antics.

It's hard to imagine Robert at 65 and older, ever being that stern.
     As the provider for the family, he had worked at least 8 hours a day, and gone out again for appointments on so many nights. He needed some peace at night and we didn't! But, like my Mom, he had to be that way to be the best parent for their six children.

     After Dad retired, I remember very vividly that when he visited us,
he wouldn't wear a watch. He'd say he was on retirement time, and he obviously relished the freedom.     Traveling all over the country in their 33' RV, brought him great joy. He especially loved visiting the National Parks, and taking photographs along the way. My parent’s trips to Alaska, Hawaii and Europe were opportunities to absorb the sights, learn about the culture, enjoy the food and know the people.

Dad was very proud of his service in the Air Corp during World War II and loved flying. For his birthday a few years ago, I arranged for him to fly on the same type of bi-plane he had trained on. He said it was as if he went back in time. I could see the joy that flying had brought him whenever he talked about it. If you have watched the video on You- Tube about his first flight, you can see and hear the excitement he felt about flying.

He was so proud of all the family members who have served or who are actively serving. Bob, Peter, Faith, Kyle, Christian and Andrew - you've all carried on the tradition and shown the value of serving our country.

I feel so privileged to have spent five days with Dad before he passed on April 18. Although he was very sick, he remained Robert up to the very end.  Every nurse or technician that came into the room was an opportunity for him to make them laugh. His standard response to "how do you feel, Mr. Marklin?" was "with my hands".   Never a straight answer, but always a funny one! After I had said "I love you Dad” and “You've been such a good Dad", for three days in a row, he said "if you keep saying that I'm going to believe it.".

My Dad said many times that he had lived a good life. We are all a testament to that! We will always miss him, but he lives on in so many ways, and will always be remembered. 
Rest in Peace, Dad.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Piecing Shadows

I just returned from a wonderful week in Tucson - a great respite from our seemingly never ending winter here in the northeast.  We were having lunch at a sandwich place in a typical suburban strip mall, and found out we were looking at the Safeway where Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot, and 8 people died. It was hard to imagine that someone walked up with a gun and started shooting. The parking lot was full of cars, there were people walking all over, in and out of the stores, and 8 people had died there. I can only imagine how surreal it was for everyone. And it made me realize it can happen anywhere.

While in Tucson, we did some exploring of the area. Visited the Desert Museum which had plants, coyotes, javelino's, raptors, lizards, snakes - oh my! Nice place to walk around and learn about the desert and it's flora and fauna. Of course, I was most interested in things that could inspire compositions.

The shadows on the walls made me think about what they would look like if they were pieced, or if the shadows were created by Shibori type marks. I could see doing them in the colors of the photo, or just black and white. Or in very bright colors...As usual, my mind goes in many different directions, and I can imagine all of them. Sewing is so time consuming that choices need to be made, and it is sometimes hard to commit when you know the work will take a month or longer. Meanwhile, other ideas move in and out of the list of things to be done!

Friday, March 25, 2011

New View - SAQA 2011 Auction piece

"New View" c.2011 12" x 12"

The Studio Art Quilt Associates asks its members to donate a small art quilt each year for the annual fundraiser. I actually got mine in early this year, instead of just making the deadline! Progress, not procrastination for a change. My piece is titled "New View" because I thought it seemed like a view from another planet of moons circling the sun. I dyed the fabrics and have become entranced by circles.

This is the second year I have donated a piece to the auction. I bid, on two last year, and was thrilled with the art quilts when they arrived via USPS. They were both more detailed and interesting than I could tell from the photo on the web site. This year's auction will start on Sept. 12.
I hope you will take a look, and start thinking about the small art works you would like to have for your own. Watch this space for more info!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Quilts for Japan

The continuing devastation in Japan leads us all to want to help in whatever way we can. Donations of money are the most helpful right now and there are many organizations that are doing important work. Save the Children is my favorite, and Doctors without Borders a close second.

Being quilters, we all think of all the fabric we have that could be sewn up into quilts to help with warmth, and care. Here are possible sources for contributing quilts to the people in Japan:

1) Mission of Love Foundation
2054 Hemlock Court
Youngstown, Ohio 44515 ~ U.S.A.
Ship quilts any time now to the above address. First shipment to Japan in about 30 days by the U.S. Air Force

2) Dana Jones
Quilter’s Newsletter magazine
741 Corporate Circle, Suite A
Golden, CO 80401
Add your name, address and e-mail inside the package.
A third possibility is to mail quilts directly to the editor of Patchwork Tsushin.
★Naomi Ichikawa suggests that people send quilts after the end of April.
Mail to:

3) Naomi Ichikawa, Editor
Patchwork Tsushin Co., Ltd.,
2-21-2, Yushima, Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo, JAPAN 113-0034
4) Patchwork Tsushin Co. Ltd
Tohoku Kanto Earthquake Comfort Quilts
〒113-0033 Tokyo, Bunkyoku, Hongo 5-28-3
Telephone 03-3816-5538

If sending directly to the magazine, please do not state a declared value of more than $100. or a customs tax will have to be paid by the recipient. When shipping, don't put "quilt" on the contents form - it is too tempting to thieves. Instead, "bedding", "used fabric" or "blanket" is safer.
Thanks to Patricia Cummings for the information and addresses!

Let's all keep Japan and the environment in our thoughts and prayers - and do what we can to help.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hugs and Kisses for babies

I quilted "Hugs and Kisses" and a heart across the bottom border of the quilt. Someday, the babies will be able to read it!
I'm a grandmother now - hard to believe, since I still feel like I'm about 35, but it's a wonderful experience. I've spent the last two weeks making a wall hanging for my new grandbabies - twins!
My daughter in law always signs her emails and cards with XOXOX, so I thought I'd use that theme for the babies quilt. The nursery is painted purple, and knowing that babies like bright colors and black and white, I used a Laurel Burch designed fabric as the centerpiece with bright accents.

I loved that the fabric had a brown woman who looked like she was a princess of the stars, and there were lots of different suns and some moons. They both speak to me of the wonders of the universe, and having twin babies seems to be an amazing event!
Full view of Hugs & Kisses 2011c.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

No Indigo to go go

Unfortunately, the Indigo workshop doesn't have enough registrants to make it worthwhile. I'm disappointed, because I love the color of Indigo, and was looking forward to using it in many art quilts.
I've been working on a wall hanging for the nursery of my new twin grandbabies. Will post when it is finished!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Indigo AND Shibori!

Indigo Itajime by Vicki Jensen
The Surface Design Conference -  "Confluence" has so much to offer this year. I'm particularly excited to be assisting at a workshop being taught by Vicki Jensen of Pro-Chem and Dye. The workshop is "The Magic Of Indigo", and it's 5 days of working with Indigo, and learning multiple Shibori techniques. Pole wrap, stitching, resists...the possibilities are endless. It's those endless possibilities that I love about Shibori. You can keep thinking "but what if?" and have so many options, and sometimes, surprises.

The Indigo is a newer type - pre-reduced - so you don't have to have a place to keep a vat going non-stop. Blue and white are my absolute favorite colors! You can also use the indigo over other dyes, and mix the colors to get anything that can be mixed using blue. Vicki has some examples on her blog Vicki Jensen blogspot. Some examples start with a rust colored cloth, and then blue, as well as the traditional blue and white, and dyeing with other primaries. Vicki is an expert on dyes and will be a fabulous instructor.
Check it out and see if you can come learn, and play with us!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Art Heals

The Textile Arts Blog is a great resource for learning about textiles, but today's post also illustrates the healing power of art: http://

A prison inmate, drug addicted and with no resources, takes apart socks, and using the threads, embroiders them into portraits. Finding solace, inspiration and most importantly, hope, he gets through his prison term and embroidery helps with his healing.

Art has been shown to help heal many hurts, as well as to lower stress. Just cutting up construction paper, or the newspaper, and gluing them to a background can feel like you are a world away from the daily stresses - as long as that critical voice we all hear in our heads is told to stay away! When doodling, or coloring with crayons, our brain stops running all the "have to's and should have's" and we get in touch with a different side of ourselves. This "Art" may not be something to share with anyone else, because it's the process of making it that is valuable, not the result. That voice that says "I'm no good at Art", is what stops us from going to that place of release and renewal. Art needs to be made for the making, not for the showing.

Roy Matterson was able to get through years of prison, and still uses art to deal with his demons.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

No Holds Barred!

Grief c.2009  36" H x 22" W.
The opening reception for the SAQA NE Region "No Holds Barred" exhibit was on Saturday. There was a big turnout, with most of the artists attending. The New England Quilt Museum did a professional job of hanging the show. There are some amazing pieces of art in the show. The show will be at the museum until April 9, so if you can get to Lowell, it is well worth the effort.

I was proud to have two pieces juried into the show, but couldn't post a photo of them until after the opening. The one above is "Grief", which I have thought was one of the best pieces I've made, but it hadn't been accepted into a show before. I'm glad it was able to make it's debut in the show. You just never know what the jurors will see in different entries, or what other entries will be. The jurors brought a very cohesive show together.
Before/After  27" W x 22" H 

The one above is "Before/After". Both are made with my own hand dyed fabrics, which I love making!

Friday, January 28, 2011

More Than Skin Deep 2

More Than Skin Deep2 by Jeanne Marklin c.2011 Dimensions: 32" H x 54" Wide
Add caption
                                                          Detail of More Than Skin Deep2

Last summer, I posted a piece on the blog titled "More Than Skin Deep" that I had made for an art quilt exhibit on racism. The art quilts were exhibited at a conference on racism in Chicago. A staff member from the General Council on Religion and Race had attended the conference, and contacted me about buying the quilt. The exhibit was already scheduled to travel for the next year and a half, so I offered to make another piece that was similar, but they could choose the finished size. I received a commission to make a similar piece for the General Council on Religion and Race in Washington, DC.  They wanted a larger piece for the reception area of the organization, and I was thrilled to be asked to make a work that would represent an organization with the goal of raising consciousness about racism.

This was the first time that I needed to produce a piece with a similar design. I wasn't that happy with the first piece, but it had a deadline, and I had made the deadline. And it had led GCORR to contact me, so it was a good introduction to a new organization. I had been unhappy with the proportions in the first quilt, so I decided to make the background much more variable in sizes and shapes, and the black line, stronger. I think this piece is much stronger than the first one. Do you agree?

The piece was meant to represent the variety of skin colors in the human race, and the blood, and heart beat that we all share. The artist statement went something like this "Our skin is meant to protect us from the elements, but is a very small part of who we are. So many judgements and prejudices are made on the basis of skin color, that really have nothing to do with the human being within that skin. We need to look inside each other, to see the person within, what makes them tick, what their heart tells them. We have much in common." GCORR asked for an artist statement to frame and post near the art quilt so visitors can understand the meaning behind the work.

I was in the DC area and delivered the quilt to the organization. The staff all gathered for the "unveiling", and it was a warm, welcoming, and appreciative group. They made it a special time for me. It is gratifying when people who are "simpatico",  get the meaning of one of my art quilts, and want to share it with others. If I can influence anyone to be more open to connecting with others, the goal of the work will be reached!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bird Photography - Audubon Awards

The Audubon Society Magazine has published their Annual Photography Awards. The photo's are stunning! They capture birds while feeding, hunting, resting (do they rest?) and mating. The photo's have exquisite composition and color. The photographer's must have been incredibly patient and observant to make the photo's. Any of these photo's could be an inspiration for art, using the colors, lines and texture of the birds.
Check out the photo's at the website:
There is a screensaver as well if you're a subscriber. The snowy owl with one wing across his head is my favorite - but the green-breasted mango (don't you love that name?) is gorgeous too. What's your favorite?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Get in line

"Get In Line" was created in response to an article on White Privilege. The quilt is the second piece in a series about Racism. The article is a thought provoking paper written about "White Privilege" by Peggy McIntosh. This paper is well known in the field of sociology. Read it here:

The author lists the multiple ways a white person doesn't have to think about their race. Easy examples such as "will the drugstore carry hair, skin and make up for my race?" To more difficult ones, such as if "I moved into a new neighborhood, would my neighbors accept me, and maybe even welcome me?" and, "when I"m part of a group conversation, do I have to parse my words for fear that a statement will be taken as representative of my race, rather than my own experience?" It's a list of thought provoking questions about the unrecognized privileges that come with being White. 

Get In Line, Jeanne Marklin c. 2010, 40" H x 50" W. I dyed the fabrics, using the shibori pole wrapped method. The shadows are black tulle.  Click on the photo to make it larger.