Thursday, September 30, 2010


Looks like I've disappeared off the blog but I have been hand stitching away. I was in San Jose, CA, for an Art Cloth Network meeting (check out our new blog at over the next month or so to see work by some talented fiber artists) and am off to Philadelphia for a wedding over the next five days, so progress has been slower than ideal. But I have stitched about 50% of those gloriously colorful bits in place and will finish the rest when I return so STAY TUNED!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Step 4: Ready to Stitch (maybe)

I am quite satisfied that the piece flows well at this point. I may add a bit here and there, but the applique is essentially done. Now I need to decide how to hold it to the batting and back. Options: machine quilt (I will definitely NOT do this as the stitches would interrupt and distract from the movement of the pattern as they are mechanical, too even and not organic looking); use the embellisher - dry felting machine (this is often the best solution as it is almost invisible and fast - I in fact have already done a bit of this around some of the outer edges to secure a few of the larger pieces, but I don't want to use it on some of the smallest, most delicate pieces as they will start to break down and I want a crisp look); or hand stitch. When in doubt I always choose to quilt by hand, and that is what I will do here. First, I love doing it. Second, there is complete control of the stitches themselves - they can be invisible, evenly placed, of any length, or even complex embroidery stitches, and add a whole new aspect to the design.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Step 4 continued

The first thing you probably notice is that the piece has been flipped 180 degrees. Works better visually at this stage guiding the eye boldly from upper right to lower left but still with visual anchors in the opposite direction. Since we normally read from upper left to lower right, this is a bit edgy which gives the piece energy and warns of the unexpected. The second thing you see is that I have fallen in love with white. This is surprising as black is usually my go-to default - so much for those bold black marks I thought were going to be so prominent! The colors are emerging but need a lot of work to tie together at this point.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Making of an Art Quilt, continued

Once I've selected a general color palette it's time to prepare bits for use. This requires ironing, a lot of ironing! Some people choose to spray their fabrics' backsides with a sticky substance that allows for adhering and then changing one's mind, and removing, and possibly re-adhering in a different location. I prefer to iron Wonder Under or a similar product onto the back of each piece since it all needs to be ironed anyway, and then I store (with the protective paper on) all the unused pieces from this and former projects for future use. That provides a lot of cool bits which are ready to incorporate at the drop of a hat. The picture shows lots of small pieces I've finished Wonder-Undering. Then Step 4, the cutting and arranging the fabrics onto a ground fabric. In this case, I selected a piece of white canvas as a starting point. (Yes, painters' canvas.) Working from the images I have in mind, I begin to build the composition. This will take days. Here we have the nascent stage.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Early Steps in the Creation of an Art Quilt

Several people who do not work with textiles have asked that I post the steps I use in making an art quilt. I began one yesterday so thought this might be a good opportunity to do that. Here are some ideas about Steps One and Two. First, I conceive of an idea: like water issues, early human communication systems, or a color combo I want to play with. In this case, I was looking at some 2Oth Century abstract expressionist art and decided I wanted to lay down a colorful ground then add strong black marks on top. Some doodles show a couple of ideas for the marks. Then I began to think about the fabrics - Step Two. I have a large stash of cottons I have dyed, screen printed, soy wax batiked, painted, etc, etc., so I began going through those and selecting some in the general colors I have in mind. I also delved into some commercial fabrics I just happen to have (!) which match well with them. That was a day's work.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Who'd'a thunk . . . I woke up this morning with a song in my heart (could be the weeks of heavenly autumn weather finally breaking through) and a paint brush in my hand. Have a whole new series in mind which came together as a result of putting that colorful wet stuff on canvas. Has anyone else noticed that canvas is a textile???

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Well, I've been trying to work the surface of metal for some time now. Since I do not have enameling supplies I'm stuck with my own ingenuity - not always a bad thing. Here are some examples I did today. They are brass and copper, heated, rusted and painted with various metal-happy paints. The silver one has since been rusted over the paint. These can now be stitched into by hand or machine.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Hangar Gallery Santa Monica Airport Artists Studios

Yesterday I dropped nine pieces of my work at this Santa Monica gallery for a month-long show which has its grand opening event on September 11 from 6-9. I will be there from 7-8 for sure! My work is hanging on 16' of well lit gallery hallway. My only concern is that there is not much else on display nearby; the enclosed galleries are at the other end of the building. Let us hope that more work is up by the BIG day. Gallery is open Wed.-Sat. from noon to 6. Five of the works are 4" squares (see above) called "DK, or what the cat dragged in" after all the rusty metal that kitties Sammy and Daisy brought as studio offerings on their magnetic collars. There's also one of the threadless quilts, Coalescence IV; the very textured Seawall, Darwin, Australia; a small study with needle lace; and the framed under glass Copper Embroidery which has a lot of modern materials: Tyvek, Angelina and other interesting stitched bits creating a nebula. Please come by to see the exhibit and then go for lunch at the cool cafe next door from which you can watch the private planes come and go.