Monday, February 23, 2015

Scheduling Time

Yesterday started my attempt to work within a weekly schedule. It isn' my natural way to work. And it isn' that I need a schedule to get things done. I work really hard everyday and every minute of every day! 

It's just that there are a couple of things that always get put aside because there is always a long list of things for me to accomplish for the business of CherScapes. I have had to come to the realization that that long list will always be there. Tasks get added to the list just as quickly as I can cross things off. And sometimes even quicker!

I won't ever be able to finish everything on the list. Duh! That's a tricky one for me as I love to get things finished.

At any rate, the 2 things that significantly add to the quality of my life that seem to always get pushed to the bottom of the "To Do" list is working on my own artwork (as opppsed to the artwork I post on Etsy) and (drum roll please) living in/with a clean house.

So, I work at my part time job Monday - Wednesday from 4-9:30, or earlier if they need the extra help. It is a great schedule for an artist, as it frees up all my daytime.

Here is the new schedule:
Tuesday - Friday - the business of CherScapes which includes product design and making new product. The first hour is emails, then posting on Etsy.
Saturday morning is reserved for photographing new Etsy items. I have to take enough to get me through the following week. 
Saturday afternoon and Sunday is to work on my own personal artwork.
Monday I clean house and do laundry. 

I did fairly well yesterday - all things considered. I hadn't taken any photos on Saturday, so I did it yesterday morning and started in on my own work at 2:00. I took a break to make dinner and eat but was back in the studio until 9:45.

The difficulty today is to stay out of the studio to continue working on that piece. But I am committed for the long haul. A clean and orderly house make me so happy and keeps my anxiety levels down. It also makes a big difference to my son who is highly allergic to dust mites. 

So without further adieu, I leave you now to go get my mop and bucket!

Here is a picture of the front of my house. Somewhere in all that snow is my front door!

And what about you? Do you work better with a schedule or not?

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Here is a quick snippet of my work table today. I spent the last week or so fighting a bad cold and getting ready for a batik gig at Northeastern University in Boston. Fortunately the gig was rescheduled. Thank you kind people!

Now I am working in my art journal - using up some stencil designs/pieces made for the batik samples. It is not finished but I am excited. I started out using a reject page (wish I had taken a picture of that first). 

I'll post again as I get closer to the finish line. I think I need to cut more leaves. A funny concept, since I am supposed to be using up scraps. Not making new ones !

I'll be digitally printing this on silk when I am done - can't wait!

In the meantime I'm linking up with Nina Marie's blog for Off the Wall Friday. Head on over there to get a peak at what some other fiber artists are up to.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Stenciling with Shiva Paintstiks - Part 2

Several days ago I posted about stenciling with Shiva Paintstiks on a jacket I was embellishing for a client. I had decided to use the opportunity to make my first free tutorial.

Because of our antiquated wifi connection it became clear that I would have to upload the video during the night time when no one else was on the internet. So it has taken me several days to remember to do that before heading off to bed. At any rate here it is - a beginner video for sure. But in the spirit of easy going and more personal blog posts I am going to share it with you in the raw. I apologize for the view point of the camera in the first half - you'll see what I mean when you try to look through my right shoulder and arm to see what I am doing! LOL. Also it is verrrrrry long.

To see the original post just scroll below.

The stencils I used in the video are available for purchase through my Etsy shop here.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Stenciling with Shiva PaintStiks

Today I pulled out a job I am doing for a client of mine. She has a couple of white jackets she bought from Dharma Trading and has asked me to dye and embellish them. I finished dyeing them the other day and am now ready for the embellishments.

I decided to use Shiva PaintStiks with one of my stencil designs. I have chosen to use the paint sticks because I am planning to put a  lot of imagery on the jacket. If I used textile paint it would surely leave an undesirable hand to the fabric - simply because I would be using so much paint. A smaller application of paint would work just fine. But that isn't what I will be doing.

I also decided that this would be a great opportunity to make my first free, video tutorial. Clearly I have much to learn about making and editing videos. LOL But in the spirit of being more relaxed about this blog, I am going to share the video here even thought there are many areas in need of improvement!

My apologies about my arm and back often being in the way of your view! But here goes... Oops

Looks like my internet is too slow to upload the video during the day when other people need to be online. I'll upload the video tonight just before we all go to bed. In the meantime here are some photos of the finished jacket.

This is the right front side - Center front opening is along the top edge


Full front view


Doesn't it look regal? The fabric is a loosely woven rayon but because of the dye and paint sticks it looks like machine embroidery on velvet.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hand Dyed Silk!

Okay, I am indeed a day late but here is the beginning of the silk I dyed on Tuesday. All the pieces now have to be ironed, measured and hung on hangers.

This is about half of what I dyed. I'll start listing them on Etsy over the next couple of days.

O my gosh, that zig zag is crazy. I think I am tired. I put the stool up in one spot and simply turned the camera from side to side. LOL    And too tired to do anything about it!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Getting Ready To Dye Silk

Just put blogger on my new iPhone. Yeah! Blogging should be easier now. I'm trying to be more easy going, simpler and make less of a production of every post and everything else in my life. 

Sooooo, I am snowed in today and am about to work on a silk dyeing venture I started a couple of days ago.

That's it for tonight. The dye is on every thing. Soda ash is next, then I  am done until tomorrow morning. See you then!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Year's Reflections - Stencil & Fat Quarter Designs on Etsy!

The new year is now in full swing. And although I have never thought of myself as someone who makes official new year's resolutions or celebrate on New Years Eve, I realized this year more then ever that I do actually think of goals for the coming year. Mostly goals for my business. But with that said, my business is about art making. That in and of itself makes it feel very personal.

I think it starts happening in the early fall - which would explain why that by the time the new year starts I am already in full swing of my ideas. So it doesn't really feel like a new years resolution - but in actuality it is.

The fall is my favorite time of year. Living here in New England the views are incredible. I have lived here all my life and yet continue to be awestruck each and every year. However it isn't just the colors and the obvious beauty that compels me to love that time of year. I also love when the sky turns a certain color of grey that speaks of winter - when the leaves turn brown and fall away to the ground - the barren trees - and the musty smell of the forest floor.

I always have a little thrill the first time I feel the need to turn the collar up on my jacket and dig my cold bare hands deep into my pockets. I love the first frost and how frisky the dogs are when they come into the warm house after a jaunt around our property. Even as a young teen I saw the coming of winter as a time of reflection - a chance to be still and look inward. It is a gift of rest for those of us whose eyes are like visual sponges - banking in every image we see. I breath a sigh of relief when winter and the snow arrives.

On this past New Years Eve we sent my middle child off to India for a semester abroad.

My son August on the right with fellow traveler Jesse.
He is in his third year of a 5 year Architectural program. It was important for him to choose a college that is driving distance from home, Because of this decision we have never gone more then 5 weeks at a time without seeing him. So India for almost 5 months is a huge leap for all of us. After sobbing like a baby, I turned to my husband and said that this must be the wings part of parenting. You know the old saying - where our job as parents is to give our children roots and wings. His wings have been unfurling for a few years - but now they are actually outstretched and he is flying. He isn't flying alone yet - but that will come soon enough. You can learn more about his journey as an architecture student here.

I am acutely aware of how little time I have left with my youngest still home. He is a junior in high school. The college search will be in full swing now that this semester has begun. I will miss him greatly when it is his time to leave. We are a close family. My husband and I have been fortunate to have had teenagers who wanted to spend time with us - have had long in depth conversations - laughed - and continue to share of our lives - successes and failures.

Also - this past fall my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. This is a journey that of course we had not expected. But it is ours none-the-less. We don't know yet for the future - but with a new medication regime I have a bit of the old person back with me again. For that I am grateful.

Alas, we never really do know of the future - I suppose I am coming into the age bracket where more people will get sick - some will die. Last year a friend/student and fellow art quilter passed just after Christmas. She was in the heat of trying to find her own visual voice. Another friend lost his wife and a new grandbaby has come into the life of yet another. And life goes on - amazing really.

My plans for the new year encompass more teaching and writing and much more art making. I'll be teaching in June at the Michigan League of Hand Weavers Fiber Conference as well as delivering the key note speech. And my new book proposal is out there trying to find a good home.

The news for my Etsy shop is that I am now offering my stencil and hand carved stamp designs as well as my fat quarter designs for sale. It is a big leap for me. But since the publication of my book I have been introduced to the whole world of crafts and crafters. Coming from a fine art background the world of crafting was so new to me. I have come to really appreciate it's value and the excitement and joy it holds for people! The lines between fine art and craft have blurred for me - the cracks and crevices filled! It is a delight!

Everyday I'll be adding new designs to my shop. The stencils are cut on my Cameo Silhouette machine. Many of them have companion designs and offer several sizes on one stencil so people can play with scale and rhythm on their pieces when they work. 

The fat quarters are digitally printed on fabric but for all my paper crafting friends I will be printing them on paper as well. The stamp designs (I don't have any of these up just yet) will be a digital download. I will be offering the fat quarter designs as a digital download as well.
Fat Quarter

You can see the stencils here, fat quarters here, and digital downloads here. The selection isn't huge just yet but I'll be adding new items and designs everyday. And of course I will continue to add my hand dyed silkwearable art and my one-of-a-kind art pillows as well. I am now also offering pillows made from my digitally printed fabric. This particular home decor favorite will be less expensive then the one-of-a-kind versions.
My teaching schedule for 2015 is starting to come together. You can access the calendar here on my website. More classes and workshops will continue to be added as dates and venues are confirmed.

Don't forget you can click on the images for a larger view!

Happy New Year to all of you! May your lives be filled with love, laughter and all things creative!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Stencil Designs

I have been working on my stencil designs. 
I hope to be offering them for sale through my Etsy shop soon. So stay tuned! 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Last Finished Art Quilt of 2014

Here it is. All done! I should have taken pictures along the way over the last month to show you. But sometimes I just get in the groove of working and find it hard to pull away to record what I am doing. I am introverted at heart. If you click here you can see an earlier version. There is not much left to what it once was. I cut it apart, reworked much of it with paint and stitch, added some wool and needle felting and feel really good about the end result.

The background gold fabric is a piece of my hand dyed silk. The wool for the center needle felted panel is from Weeks Dye Works, a wonderful company based in Garner, North Carolina that will soon have me listed as one of its designers. I am proud to use their beautiful hand, over dyed wool fabric fat quarters and pearl cotton embroidery floss.

The quilt now measures approximately 36" square. Not very large - I know. But I am loving it just the same.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Finished piece titled "Fertility".

Needle felted panel.

Detail of needle felted area.

Detail of needle felted area.


For materials I used my CherScapes Pear Stencil and one of my CherScapes abstracted leaf stamps, Jacquard brand textile paints, variegated cotton thread from Superior Threads called King Tut, Golden fluid acrylics, Norwegian C-1 wool in several colors, Weeks Dye Works wool fat quarter and pearl cotton embroidery floss and Genziana Wool Thread. I also used my own hand dyed silk and batiked cotton, although none of the cotton is still visible!

For techniques I used direct painting, stamping, machine stitching, both hand and machine needle felting, free motion quilting and hand embroidery. Phew!

I'm linking this post to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday. Have a peek at what some other fiber artists have been up to.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

I was invited to join this blog hop by Jeanne Marklin. She and I met several years back when I had a large studio in Downtown Greenfield, MA. Jeanne introduced me to the organization called the Studio of Art Quilts Associates, which was a really great foray for me into the world of art quilters. I had been making art quilts for awhile but didn't realize they had a name!

Anyway, Jeanne has been a great friend for me. She is an exceptional artist and is a master at dying cloth. You can read her blog here, and visit her web site here.

One of the goals for this blog hop is for artists to talk about their art making process. That is a hard one for me to write about. Only because I don't really know where I begin. I have been making art since I was a very small child and have been lucky that over all these years I never really lacked for inspiration or drive. I feel that I just can't help myself.

Like many artists inspiration is all around me. Sure, it can come from a beautiful sunset and the glorious autumn leaves here in New England. But it also comes from a single twig on the path through my woods, the call of a lone seagull and a random song on the radio. It comes from the ticking of my studio clock late into the dark night, from the color grey, from the fabric I just dyed and the stencils I cut the other day. It comes from the work of other artist be they painter, quilter, song writer or poet.

With my mind and heart heavy with vision and thought I go to the studio and simply work. I make things.

Over the last decade or so I have been making things with fabric - fiber. I am a painter. I am a sewist, a dyer of cloth. I am a collage artist - I make things, then cut them up and put them back together again.

It is a strange and intriguing process. And I  know not where it comes from.

Below is what I am working on right now. You definitely need to click on the image for a larger view. As you see it here the piece will measure about 28" x 32".

The process of creating this piece is almost complete. It is at this stage that I can finally see it finished in my mind's eye. However, if I am not careful and become too dedicated to this final vision I might miss something along the way.

Recently I have begun adding needle felting to my art quilts. Through texture and the nuance of tiny bits of wool fiber, I add another dimension to the surface of the piece. The blank spaces on the top and bottom will be filled in with small squares of needle felted imagery.

Add caption

This shows one of the needle felted areas.

Here it is again. There will be more of these with similar imagery.

Needle felted pear. I love how it looks like a pastel drawing!
I have invited Wen Redmond to participate in this blog hop. I met Wen when I was writing my book Fabric Surface Design. I was intrigued with her process and loved her imagery.
Her blog is here. Her website is here.