Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blog is moving!

My blog has moved. Please visit me at

My Latest Commission

When I attended Spring Quilt Market last May, I was commissioned to create a new quilt for Rockland Industries for their booth at Fall Quilt Market. Rockland makes muslin, or what is called calico in England. Muslin is cotton fabric. It comes in both unbleached, or natural, color and bleached, or white. It also comes in many different thread counts from very loose to very heavy. This quilt used approximately 20 yards of varying thread count fabrics.
The goal was to manipulate and create texture and interest. I hand dyed some of the bleached muslin to create the color gradation. Then worked on the blocks.
The goal was to manipulate and create texture and interest. I hand dyed some of the bleached muslin to create the color gradation. Then worked on the blocks.
I will not be going to Fall Market in Houston this time, so if anyone else is going, please stop into the Rockland Industries booth to see the quilt.

By the way, I absolutely love this fabric. The quality is wonderful and it takes dye beautifully.

Monday, September 13, 2010

On Becoming a "Geek"

For several years I've been asked if I have a web site. I would reply, apologetically, that I did not. After wishing, exploring, and number crunching, I decided to try building one myself. I was going to join my husband in the "computer geek" world. Thank goodness it has become "easier" for someone without lots of training to build a site. That said, I couldn't have done it without SOME lessons. I signed up for an on-line class from Nicolette Tallmage of The Crafted Webmaster . I especially enjoyed her style of teaching using the webinar format. She teaches live so questions can be asked and answered in real time. For me, that worked well and the cost was reasonable.

I was pretty naive when the class began. I knew the learning curve would be high, but there are times when I think my brain hurts! Nicolette is a very patient teacher, however, and has created videos that students can go back and view as many times as needed. This has been a tremendous help as I've worked on my site. My website is a work in progress and I believe always will be as I add new works to the galleries. There are still a few things I haven't figured out yet, like how to turn off some of the default effects, but I'm getting there. In fact, I love a challenge whether it's problem solving in the creation of an art piece or trying to figure out how to make something work the way I want it to in a computer program.

So take a peek at my efforts so far at I'd love to hear what you think, and please let me know if something doesn't work!

Friday, July 30, 2010

When it Rains, It Pours - Inspiration

As I type, there is another thunderstorm outside with rain so heavy it's difficult to see across the street. This seems to have become the norm this summer. Lots of precipitation this year. Record snowfall last winter, now record rains. This past winter, when my environment was nothing but gray and white, I spent the time creating with that in mind.

North Wind is one in a series of work from my winter contemplation. Matted and framed to 8 x 10, it is made of silk from Japanese wedding kimonos, hand dyed silk, hand dyed cotton, rayon threads, beads and pearls.

When surrounded by snow, my creative spirit took it in. Water, in it's frozen state. Now that I'm surrounded by water in it's liquid form, what might my creative spirit do with it?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

International Spring Quilt Market

I was fortunate to be able to accompany a friend of mine, Ilene Bartos, to market. She was there to promote her new book, Spectacular Rectangles published by Martingale. They were kind enough to give me a badge which was my ticket to enter. Market isn't like a show where you can pay to go view the quilts and visit the vendors. It's the wholesale part of the business.

I had gone with the intention of supporting Ilene and not really thinking about opportunities I might have. This was a very exciting experience for me. I was asked to "try" some new products and let the manufacturers know what I think of it and I have some things to design. The people I met were wonderful and the possibilities are countless.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Creative Lulls and Cycles

It's been quiet here on my blog, and quiet in my studio of late. I used to think there must be something wrong with me if I wasn't producing art work on a daily basis. While I do think it's important to be in the studio with my hands in "something", I have come to recognize that my creative energy comes in cycles. There are times when production is fast and furious and the ideas are coming so quickly I can't always get them in my sketch book in order to remember them.

Then there are the other times when nothing seems to work, and even the inspiration for things escapes me. I can only clean the studio so many times in a week, so what then? What is one to do when creative energy is at an all time low and everything that worked before, isn't now?

The past couple of months has been the longest uninspired time I've spent in many years. It's been excruciatingly frustrating and a bit depressing to just sit and stare at the unfinished work on the design wall. What was it asking for? Why doesn't it seem to be working? Where do I need to tweak the composition? - Nothing. Nada. Zip. No answer. I was staring at it, and it was staring back at me. So I left. I left the studio and headed out.

I began a drawing class at the art center. I thought perhaps this might kick me back into gear. At least it would keep my hands in something and take me back to my roots. Drawing in pencil and charcoal. The class is over for now and I found it quite enjoyable. Even have a drawing or two that turned out fairly well and will keep my hands in the charcoal and pencil for awhile.

At the same time, I began painting a house. Every wall of every room and closet. Every baseboard, door and piece of trim. Methodical. Quiet. Dip the brush and stroke. Push the roller, back and forth. Mindful. Meditative. Five weeks later, finished. Job accomplished. But something else happened. While moving that roller and brush, I began to focus on my unfinished art on the wall. Not really thinking about what it needs, just seeing it in my mind. Nothing concrete occurred, but, with the house painting finished, I am back in the studio filled with creative energy. The work on the design wall has been taken down, stitches ripped and sewn back in different configurations. It's working. I like where I think it's going, at least for now. Ideas are flowing again and I'm struggling with the sketch book and making lists.

I know there will be other non-creative and/or low energy times. I hope they don't last as long this one did. I don't want to have to paint another entire house, but . . . . .

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Looking Back, Looking Forward in a new year

Here it is the end of January and I have so neglected my blog. Where does the time go? Holiday hustle and bustle, finishing year-end work, commissions and paper work. Now is the time to look back and revisit what occurred in 2009 in order to look forward to 2010.

I traveled a great deal this past year. I actually drove, or rode as the case may be, from coast to coast beginning in the Spring, with a great trip to Hudson Valley, NY for an art workshop, ending with a visit to family in California for the holidays. In between were several trips to Wyoming to visit family and a niece's wedding in Texas. This year could find me traveling just as often, with two babysitting weekends in Wyoming for our granddaughter and a nephew's wedding in Texas already scheduled.

In spite of all the travel, I've also had a good deal of time in the studio. I sold enough work to make a small profit this year. I participated in several local and regional textile shows in Des Moines and Fairfield, IA. You will also find several of my works at the Perfect Setting in Marshalltown, IA. It's a wonderful gallery filled with a great variety of art.

In the Beginning
Sierpinski's Triangle Interpreted

Two of my art quilts, In The Beginning and Sierpinski's Triangle Interpreted, were juried into a show called "Art Meets Science", through the Studio Art Quilt Association (SAQA) that will travel for two years. The first venue is Birmingham, England in August 2010 at the Quilt Symposium. I would love to be able to go visit them in England. I may travel frequently, but I think my work travels further than I do.

Currently in the studio, I am working to finish some things left undone in 2009, while sketching and thinking about new works. The visionings project through SAQA is still on my mind although my subject matter seems to be shifting. Let's see where this will take me by the end of the year. Show opportunities abound. It's time to make a list of those in which I think my work will fit, while the purchase of a new camera has me snapping away and viewing the world through a smaller, more focused, lens.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Changing of Season

The fall colors are wonderful and I'm spending time trying to drink in their beauty, to breathe the crisp fall air and soak up the little warmth the sun holds as it moves further South. That said, I have been productive in the studio.

October has been busy with local and regional shows, as well as a deadline for a juried, international show and work on several commissions. I made the deadline for the show, barely, but don't know if my work has been accepted or not yet.

This is a piece that is currently hanging at the Polk County Heritage Gallery in downtown Des Moines, IA. The title is Tide Pool. It shows the many stages of silk from cocoon to silk rod, silk hankie, and the woven background.

"In The Wild" currently hangs at the Fairfield, IA Art Center. This piece was done by painting with dye, then "thread painting", a free-motion technique with the sewing machine. It's an interesting process which I could blog about when I begin the next dye painted works I have in the schedule.

Then there are the small pieces. Exercises in composition, but also with a purpose. These, 4x6" pieces make great postcards. A first class stamp sends them anywhere in the USA. What better way to give someone an original piece of art?

As October moves into November with shorter days and longer periods of darkness, the shadows become stronger even in mid-day. While the stronger light of summer brings warmth and brightness, the longer shadows of these months seem to bring a clarity to the environment. There is so much to see; so much to wonder at.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Balancing Act - Part 2: Visioning

I'm not balancing very well yet. I am spending a good deal of time in the studio, which is good. But not enough time focusing on writing. Why is this a problem? Because writing my thoughts adds a great deal to my creative process. As I think through the possibilities, they become more concrete in writing. Once ideas are on the page (or the computer), I can't forget them, therefore they become more of a reality. If I am to create a more consistent body of work, then I need to focus and balance both of these creative aspects.

The Visioning Project officially kicks off on October 1st. I have made my list of goals, which need to be refined, and made a choice on the theme. I have become fascinated with quantum physics, quantum mechanics and particle physics. Do I understand it? Absolutely NOT! (Math was never my strong suit, either, but I have a great appreciation for it.) But there's a challenge in there that leaves me breathless and excited at attempting to understand - and filled with awe at the complexity of the universe. Because this subject matter is so wide, I have decided to narrow things a bit, at least to begin with, and explore the aspects of space/time. There are so many questions and really very few answers. The sketch book is new, but has words written now, so making other marks in it won't seem so intimidating.

Not sure where this will take me - but it certainly will be interesting. Stay tuned . . .

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Balancing Act

It boggles my mind that I haven't written in more than a month. Where has the time gone? It's not that I haven't been busy, or that I haven't been working. I have. I've just ignored some of my networking responsibilities in order to take care of other things. It's time to get back to work here.

I have committed the next year to focusing on building a consistent body of work. In other words, I'm going to attempt to actually focus on one theme throughout the year. The Studio Art Quilters Association will begin "The Visioning Project" this fall. I have committed to this one goal and the group of artists who are also taking part, will, hopefully, be able to hold me accountable for getting the work done.

This means I will need to create balance between my daily life and my art studio, as well as create a balance in working on my art. I am interested in so many different things, there are times I feel scattered and unfocused as I work - jumping from one technique to another, from one project to another.

It's going to be interesting to see what happens as I actually attempt to focus myself and work intentionally in a different manner than I'm used to. I will be blogging on my experiences as I work. Because a year long focus is new for me, as well as the type of work I'm contemplating, I have no idea what will happen other than, I know I will learn much about myself.

Vacation's over - time to get to work and create my balancing act.