Friday, March 28, 2014

Working in a Series

Before I got any further along on this art quilt,
 I made the decision to cut it into four separate pieces.
I had been considering it for quite some time.

This is what it looked like before cutting:

At one point it had a landscape orientation like this:

But now,
Here it is with 2 of the 4 panels.

The one on the right is finished.

Over all finished dimensions are 15" wide x 33" long.

Some detail shots.

I'm feeling pretty good about it.
Now, I just have to make sure that I finish the last 3.

But I am also thinking how I did this once before -
cut a large work in progress into 3 smaller pieces.

Here is one of the finished panels.
The dimensions are 21" x 42".

Its an interesting way to work on a series.

I'm linking this up to Off the Wall Friday.
Pop on over to see what some other fiber artists have been up to this week.

Friday, March 7, 2014


This art quilt came together for me with relatively no angst. 
It started with simply doing some practice with free motion quilting
since it is a fairly new technique for me. 
I really discovered the joys of free motion quilting when I bought  new foot for my
Janome sewing machine. 
I had been using my Baby Lock machine, but it just wasn't going very well.
When I found out that the new foot I was wanting to try was only available for the Janome,
I decided to switch machines even though I had always preferred the Baby Lock.

The difference between the 2 machines was like night and day.
I was shocked and amazed as well as very, very happy!

Starting this piece is what untangled me from the intense feeling
of being overwhelmed several weeks ago.
So I ponder,
how is it possible for a new project to quiet the tornado in my head.
It seems to be a dichotomy at best. 

But I suppose it does really make sense.
You know how it goes,
piles of unfinished projects overtaking your work table,
looming house work,
family needs,
dinner plans,
the day job...
and for me - writing deadlines.

A new simple project brought me into focus
 and helped me settle into a nice comfortable work zone.

So much so that I was then able to cut into fourths a large art quilt that had become static.
But more about that/those pieces later!

Please, please, please click on the image for a larger view.

Finished size is 24" x 30"
Here are some detail shots.

All the fabric I used was hand painted white cotton.
The center fabric with orange, green and yellow leaf shapes
was a piece of batik fabric I made
using soy wax and Dye-ne-Flow.
If you want to see an earlier version of this piece click here.

Now here is the big clincher...

I need help with a title.
What do you all think?

I am linking this post up with
Pop on over to see what some other fiber artists are up to.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Earlier this week I was having coffee with an important new person in my life.
We were brain storming about what my next book should be. 
During this conversation I spoke about my blogs and how difficult it is to post everyday.
I had to admit to her that I tend to be an all or nothing kind of gal.  
As in everyday or not at all.
This tendency does not always help my cause.

Her advise to me was sound and simple.

So here goes:
you can expect to hear from me twice a week.
I will post on this blog Monday mornings and Friday mornings.

On my art journal blog, which you can find here,
I will also post twice a week,
 but on Wednesday mornings and Sunday mornings.

this feels so much more doable - while still being someone you (and I) can depend on.


Now for something much more interesting:

Many of you know that I have 2 students who come to my studio every week for 2.5 hours. 
They have been doing this since June of 2013. It has been amazing and wonderful process. I feel so honored that they have chosen me for the task
of guiding them through this particular stage of their art making.
The truth is that they give to me in so many ways as well.

One of the things they have been working on is to create an arsenal of surface design tools and images. This way when they are in the heat of creativity,
they will have an inventory or bank of things to draw from and use,
without having to stop and make something.
Or worse yet, try to figure out what to make and then loose their way in the process.

Silk screening is something brand new for both of them.
I had them create 3 screens with images that relate to each other that are of different scales,
giving them an array of choices as they work.
They have been extraordinarily productive over the past 6 weeks or so.
I thought I would share with you what one student was doing this week
as she was using her silk screens for the first time.
She used them on her own hand painted fabrics as well as some commercial fabric.

I love how they are coming along.
Fresh, alive and so vibrant!

Monday, February 24, 2014

I recently started a new sketch book.
I already have several: 
an art journal, an inspiration and idea book, a true sketchbook and now
a book that records my hand made stamps.

I love all these sketchbooks. I love having different ones for different categories.
I love holding therm and just running my hands across their well used pages.
I love the funny, crinkly sound the pages make when I turn them.
I adore how organized they are!!

They really help to quiet my overwhelmed mind. 
They give me cause to pause and breath.

My art journal now even has its own blog. You can find it here.

Below are the first pages of the Stamping Journal.
It is a record of the stamps, but it is also a place to try out some ideas using the stamps.
I'm using ink pads for these pages.
Something new I thought I would try.
As you can see  
I am starting to explore layering the stamped images.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It has been over 10 days since my last post. Its not that there hasn't been anything going on, quite the contrary actually. I realize that I tend to write only when my head is clear and focused. Unconsciously I have been in teaching mode. And although I may talk about the feelings of being overwhelmed with students, I don't ever display it.

So it remains to be seen how I decide to go forward with this blog, and more importantly what I determine the act of blogging is for me. I have to be honest, I am not so sure I want to expose my heart and soul to all who choose to read and/or follow my blog - this blog.

Of course the fact remains that I not only exposed my inner feelings but also offered them up for all the world to see when I exhibited my figurative collage works. You can see them here. So why is this so different? I am not sure exactly.

But I do know that over the last handful of years I have explored the idea (and tangible items) of art (and crafts) for the sake of beauty alone. I have come to embrace what a difference living with beauty (and handmade) makes on our day to day existence. As an example, the experience of a morning cup of coffee from an ordinary store bought, mass produced mug and that from a hand made, expertly crafted mug that was thrown by your favorite potter is incredibly different. Don't get me wrong, I have always appreciated this fact, I just didn't think that those everyday items were mine to make. I had a higher calling. I made fine art!

My journey with fiber art, the onset of middle age, the need to make an income and life as a whole have changed that perspective. I'm turned inside out now. I'm standing on my head. I'm walking backwards while twirling in a circle. In other words, I'm having trouble pulling it all together - trouble making sense of who I am as an artist. All those puzzle pieces of who I am don't fit so cleanly together anymore.

The good news is that none of this has stymied my art production! If in my youth I was overwhelmed with emotion and finding purpose, I am now overwhelmed with my own production of ideas and work. However, now I have to grapple with questions like: Is it a fine art "art quilt" to hang on a wall or are these elements throw pillows for someone's couch? Am I invested in creating high end, sophisticated contemporary fine art or am I going to allow myself to make fiber art "products?"

You might ask, What kind of question is that for someone with a fine art training from one of the top art schools in the country? I guess an important one.

Okay, so the truth is that for the past 10 days or so I have been very busy making art, teaching, working at my part time job, mothering, wifeing (is that even a word?), writing for Stitch-It...Today, dyeing fabric, maintaining my Etsy shop and generally living my life with a tornado of thoughts constantly whirling around in my head. I am indeed confused.

The solution for now is that I am going to try to share more of this on going creative process here on this blog - both the good and bad - the beautiful and the ugly.

In the meantime - here is what's on the design board.
It currently measures 25.5" wide by 29" long.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Art Journal Post February 7?

So I thought this page was done on January 26th.
But I guess not.
Click here to see what it looked like before today.
Perhaps it was better then.
But I must move on. 
This is what I do - continue to work on a piece until it is just perfect.
But this is my journal. It is about progression and doing.
I am supposed to just move on.
And so it goes...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Art JournalingJanuary 26, 2014

January 26, 2014

Some of you may know already that I recently started another blog that is all about
my art journaling.
You can see it here.
If you scroll through to the first post, you can read about my personal journaling history
or click here.
I do post finished journal pages here on this blog,
but the other blog will take you on my daily (almost daily!)
journal adventures.

I believe it is really important for artists to keep journals.
I have several. 
If you'd like to read more about the different journals I keep,
and what spurred me on to start this new one click here.

The idea is to spend at least 10 minutes a day working in the journal.
This is a new practice for me,
or rather an old practice revisited.
Nothing is planned and I don't have to think about my personal style or
staying true to my aesthetic.
I do whatever strikes my fancy.
You'll see too that the blog itself is pretty bare.
It's just me and my journal.
In the past I would have found it to be way to much of an invasion of my privacy
to make my journal public.
But over the years teaching has become such an important part of 
who I am as a person and as an artist,
that sharing these pages seems quite natural. 

Right now I am just trying to catch up,
so you'll just see finished pages along with detail shots.
But I am almost there,
so stayed tune.

Here are a few pics of finished pages.
Remember to click on the image for a larger viewing.

December 20, 2013

December 27, 2013

January 22, 2014

Sunday, January 26, 2014

These are the finished samplers from the batik class I taught last weekend at 
Snow Farm in Williamsburg, MA.

We were using soy wax and textile paints.

By Kathy Shollenberger

By Kathy Shollenberger

By Kathy Shollenberger

By Regan Hall

By Kathy Shollengerger

By Mary Ellen Davis

By Mary Ellen Davis

By Mary Ellen Davis

By Mary Ellen Davis

By Mary Ellen Davis

By Regan Hall

By Regan Hall

By Regan Hall

By Regan Hall

By Sandra Reiser

By Sandra Reiser
By Angela Cimadon

By Angela Cimadon

By Angela Cimadon

By Angela Cimadon

By Deborah MacDonald

By Deborah  MacDonald

By Deborah  MacDonald

By Elizabeth Pasieka

By Elizabeth Pasieka

By Elizabeth Pasieka