Sunday, December 27, 2009

Winding Down...Winding UP!

I can't believe that the year is almost over! Where did it go??? It seems like this one in particular went by at an unbelievable speed. Perhaps it was the constantly (over?)booked schedule...but that's pretty much the norm in my world. It was a great year for the most part, though it had some sharp spots in it. Normally I would call them 'rough spots' but these were downright sharp. Nevertheless, good things come out of every situation if you are willing to look for them, and having found the good, I press onward to embrace what the new year will bring.

For starters I have to get going on my fiberglass sculpture commissions. One, a 5' tall Hokie bird (ala VA Tech), which will arrive at my house this Saturday - weather permitting. The other, a cat for the Forsyth Humane Society's Art Unleashed fundraiser, due to arrive sometime in January. Both will be artfully painted. Stay tuned for postings as I get them underway. Deadline for both pieces is April. I have done several commissions like this in the past...the trick this time is that, being winter, I will need to fit them into my studio instead of the garage. That means the first thing on the agenda is to clean up and make room! :)

In January I am teaching my first class at Sawtooth School for Visual Art (Winston-Salem, NC)on surface design...Saturdays 1/16 & 23...covering rust dyeing, stamp making and stamping, discharge dyeing, and gelatin plate printing. Click here if you want to join in on the fun!

In March I will be teaching an original Easter table runner pattern at Sew Original (also in Winston-Salem)...more info on that will be posted closer to time.

I also have booked 2 small solo shows, which I am excited about. They are both local and later in the year, giving me time to create new pieces for them. I am a bit undecided on what other shows I will submit for this year. PAQA South has ARTQUILTS:illuminations coming up and I have a couple of pieces started that I want to submit for that one. My guild has a show this spring that I will put some piece's always a great show. Beyond those two I still have to decide. I have committed to a street festival in Virginia in the spring, and there will be venues to arrange for the Beecassos, next year's Deck the Halls, more classes to teach, new galleries to explore, and .....oh yeah, my day job!

The new year is full of possibilities...I guess I'd better get busy!

Happy New Year everyone...make it the best ever!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Getting Close to Christmas!

December has flown by so far...lots of baking and visiting, concerts and reunions, decorating and the fun, busy heart of the season it's easy to forget to slow down and just reflect.

Finding a moment, I looked back at this...and I still love it!

Snow is in the forecast - it just might be a white Christmas after all!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hokies, Kitties, and Floor Plans, Oh My!

Within the span of about a week I have been commissioned to paint a 5' tall fiberglass Hokie Bird for someone in Virginia, I found out that I've been selected to paint a fiberglass cat for the Forsyth Humane Society's Art Unleashed 2010 (my third time with them!) and I just got a call for a 1,400 sqft space planning job. I'll find out at the end of this week how I did at Sawtooth's Deck the Halls holiday sale and I am scheduled to teach a surface design class there in January (16th and 23rd... covering rust dyeing, stamp making and stamping, discharge dyeing, and gelatin plate printing...FUN!). Some of my things had sold out when I was there on Friday and I took another load in on Saturday, so I'm looking forward to finding out how it all did.

All very welcomed good news!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

art + quilt

I'm so excited! I have received my signed copy of Lyric Kinard's fabulous book art+quilt Design Principles and Creativity Exercises...available at your favorite LQS or directly through her website or blog (where you can get a signed copy too! Just click the word blog and it will link you to it)

Lyric is a fellow PAQA-South member and one of the most talented, generous people I know. Her book takes you through lessons on the elements and principles of design, exercises in creative composition, and concludes with ways to effectively analyze and critique work, including several examples of her own pieces and where she sees her successes and lessons learned. Lots of great information!

I'm particularly fond of page 99...I have 2 of my quilts published there! They are the result of an exercise in choosing a principle and an element, then creating a piece in 30 minutes. It was an eye opening experience for me...I usually spend a LOT of time on a piece and this showed me the possibilities in working smaller and faster.


Monday, November 16, 2009


NQR...that's "Not Quilt Related" for my non-fiber art readers!

Though it was inspiring on many levels and I imagine there are elements that will make it into a future piece or two... guess where we were this past weekend?

Here's another hint...
Yes! Charleston!

Beautiful, elegant, historical Charleston, South Carolina.

*swoon and sigh*


Guess where we slept?

That's right! Aboard the USS Yorktown! Our Scout pack traveled for an adventure weekend, and with several hundred other Scouts from other areas we learned the history of the ship and it's aircraft, saw an amazing movie about the Blue Angels, and even had a hands-on science lesson about the ecosystem of the area. The boys learned how to measure salinity and how the level of that affects aquatic life, and they gathered plankton and studied it under a microscope. Someone had even scooped up a tiny jelly - smaller than the tip of my little finger! We explored the ship,viewing the many artifacts and exhibits aboard, and yes, we ate and slept much like the original seamen would have done back in the day. Only 8 women came from our pack and we were given officers we only had to share rooms that would accommodate six. The boys and men, however, got the enlisted quarters and slept 60 or so to a room, with bunks stacked up to 4 high with not much room in between. Quite the adventure!
The timing of the trip, being so close to Veteran's Day, made it all the more special. God bless our Service men and women! Because of their sacrifices we are free.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Woo Hoo!!

"Rising Above Adversity with a Clear Conscience" (seen on the right) just won 3rd place in "Uncommon Threads", a juried fiber arts exhibit at the Davie County Arts Council!!!

The award came with a check! That's a first for me. A fun first.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Big News!

In another one of my "why not?" moments I decided that if I'm going to design patterns for the classes I teach, I might as well publish them. Sounds like a good plan to me...see what you think!

My first offering: Falling Leaves

Complete with photo illustrations of the process, this pattern is available for $12 USD.

To order, please visit my website at

Sunday, October 4, 2009

How I Dyed

A few people have asked how I got the results with my adventures in dyeing, so I thought I'd post it here.

First, the color dye....I used Procion dyes and you can see in the set up photos a few posts down that I just used a card table in my garage, some quart size zip-top plastic bags, an old shower curtain pole suspended over one of my kids sleds (a trick I learned in Robbie Joy Eklow's first book) and bottles I picked up at the beauty supply store that are supposed to be for hair dye (long tip squirty bottles). First I pre-soaked my PFD fabric in a soda ash solution, squeezed out the excess back into the soda ash bucket (use gloves!), then either bunched it up in a bag or draped it over the pole. Next I mixed my dye colors using all the necessary safety precautions - respirator, gloves, etc. - straight into the squirt bottles, then proceeded to squirt the colors of choice either into the bags which got mushed about to distribute the color(s), or across/down the fabrics draped on the poles. I even threw one FQ into the sled (drip catcher pan), which turned out to be one of my favorite ones! I left it all to batch for a few hours, then did the 'rinse,repeat' until the water ran clear, at which point I gave it all a good hot wash in Synthropol (colors separated), more rinses and then dried and ironed it all. I know there are dyers out there who have controlled formulas for achieving consistent results. Fascinating to me, but I'm not one of them! I think it's fun to just say 'what if'...that's how I approach most of my work. I mixed the colors until they looked yummy and from there I played.

For the rusting...the first few photos were done by fan folding the fabric, wrapping it around a decorative, unfinished metal stair picket, and then wrapping that with unfinished floral wire. I covered it in plastic wrap and left it outside for a day or two. The last photo was done with metal washers in various sizes tucked into the fabric folded multiple times. In all cases I pre-soaked the fabric in a white vinegar/water solution, mixed about half and half, squeezed out most of the liquid, then proceeded as described. I washed the final products in hot water and Synthropol. Sometimes I soak the end results in a salt water bath before I do the final wash.

It doesn't take a great lot of space to do. Time, yes. Which is why I only processed about 6 yards in this session. But it's all really easy and fun to do!

Give dyeing a try!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009


Dyeing is are a few of the things I did

Wait 'till you see what I did with RUST!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dyeing... opposed to the alternative spelling.

I spent all day yesterday in the ER with my DH (nothing life threatening, thank goodness! Just a 4mm kidney stone...ugh). And after fighting two weeks worth of my allergies turning into cold turning into bronchitis I finally dragged my own self to the doctor today.

I hate being sick.

This is my way of fighting back...
I'll post the results in a day or two...once the antibiotic has kicked in... :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I just found out that my piece "Jelly Ball" has sold! It was hanging at Associated Artists in Winston-Salem, NC ...a great place to shop, BTW :-)

Scroll down the page and have a look. It is in the right side bar.

What a fabulously good bit of news to start my day. I'm going to grab a cup of coffee and float on cloud nine for a few minutes...then it's back to work!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

September Classes

I'm going to be teaching at Karen Gray Design in September! Her shop is located in Reynolda Village in Winston-Salem. I was one of her first customers (click on that link...isn't her shop GORGEOUS!?) and I'm excited that she is starting to offer classes there.

My classes will include Fun Fusing, Bowled Over (fabric bowl), and Fabric Journal. More information is available on her blog.

I hope you will join me for one - or all - of these fun classes. Remember, Christmas/Hanukkah/ Kwanzaa will all be here before you know it. It's never too soon to start thinking about creating special, one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list!

Also, I am very thrilled to have been asked to teach at the fall meeting of North Carolina Quilters on September 18 and 19 at the Haw River State Park Conference Center in Brown Summit, NC. We will be rust dyeing on Friday, and I have designed "Falling Leaves", a fall table runner, for this event which I will teach on Saturday. Come join the fun!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Art Now 2009

This is the piece I have created for this year's Art Now for Autism fundraising event. It is 8 x 9.5" and incorporates paint stamped puzzle prints, teeny wonky strip piecing, commercial batik, printed text on fabric, FMQ, and a hand painted and gloss varnished puzzle piece using Lumiere paint, sewn on with hand dyed floss.

I knew I wanted to incorporate the puzzle pieces in some way, but otherwise I just set about creating. I love when a piece comes together without much preconceived notion of how it will finish.

This year seems to have been an especially trying one for my friend whose son has Aspergers. He will be starting 6th grade in a few weeks...middle school. The time in life where friends start to move in new directions, some going to this school, some going to that, some going to others. My friend worries about how her son will adjust...that's a big transition for any kid, where they leave the security and familiarity of elementary school, the place of friendships nurtured since preschool, and seek to find their way in a whole new realm. Where will he fit in?

I thought about that for a long's like a puzzle. Where do all the pieces fit? Is there a place for all of them?

Think about the hardest puzzle you have ever done. It takes time to sort it all out and to begin to put the first pieces together. Some of the pieces look exactly the same...some look like they couldn't possibly belong. Yet, the picture cannot be completed without all of them. And usually the most unique ones are the ones everyone wants to find. At our house there's always a race to find them and to be the one who gets to put the last piece in place.

So this year's creation gives voice to my reflections. The size is a little off "standard"...the strip piecing goes this way and that...the puzzles pieces are scattered and there's no telling yet where they fit. But in the end it all comes together.

And I know him...he will find his place too.


Be sure to click on the Art Now link above, or scroll down the blog until you see the Art Now logo in the right hand column. There's still time to contribute if you want to help out, and it's not just for fiber art! Also, hop over to Colorful Art Girl's blog for a fantastic giveaway celebrating this event!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Unexpected Gifts

If you know me, or have been visiting here for a while, you know that I have a thing for butterflies, particularly Monarchs. Well, last year I also had Swallowtail caterpillars visit my parsley, so I decided we'd put one in the bug box and watch it do its thing. Within a couple of days it had gone into the chrysalis stage and we expected to see it come out a few weeks later, just as the Monarchs do. But we waited... and waited...and waited, and it didn't happen. I figured that something had gone wrong, and I really intended to clean out the box, but somewhere in the chaos of life the box got pushed into a corner and lost behind some other stuff.

A couple of weeks ago I came across the box and thought "Ugh! I never cleaned that out!" but again, something else got my attention and I didn't do it. Imagine my surprise a few hours later when I went back to the task and found THIS!

We took it outside, hoping to take some close up shots as we took it out of the box, but it was ready to go and off it went. Pretty amazing.

Isn't that how life works sometimes? You're sure something is going to happen and you wait... anticipation fueling your excitement, only to feel disappointment when what you thought would happen seems destined to never be. But then, WOW! The unexpected happens and you realize that some things are just out of your hands, they happen when the time is right for them to be. The simplest things can teach us so much.

The other cool thing came to me one morning recently when I came into the kitchen WAY earlier than I had planned. The dogs wanted out, and they wanted out NOW...didn't matter that I was sleeping. But again, what an unexpected gift:

Rainbows on my table! If I had been even 10 minutes later I would have missed it.

I love surprises...

Sunday, July 12, 2009


A couple of weekends ago my "traditional" quilting buddies gathered for another one of our in-town day retreats. It is always a lot of fun! The last few times we've done this I've worked on art quilts, trying to meet deadlines for shows. This time I opted to work on my batik BOM blocks (from last year!) and this quilt will be for me! YAY! This same group goes on a couple of out-of-town weekend retreats a year and everyone brings a quilt from home to put on their bed. Other than the queen size quilt I sleep under - and I can't take that one...hubs would be left at home uncovered -the only other ones I have are the construction tractor quilts I made my boys when they were younger. Now, granted, I do love construction and all (ties to my day job) but I have felt a little silly with that on retreat! So, if I can keep working on this new one I will have something that is "me" to travel with. It looks a little muted in these pictures, but it is really BRIGHT!

Here's where I started the day...auditioning setting fabrics and cutting sashing...

And by the end of the day I had an almost completed top. I still need to add borders, which I'm still contemplating. Hopefully I won't take forever to decide....

These are 12" blocks and yes, there are only 11 in the quilt. I did do all 12, but I thought one of them just didn't fit with the rest. It has a future as a Christmas pillow. :-) I have to give a shout out to my friend who helped me do the math on the setting triangles to keep the bias in the right place. Thanks Lisa!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


It was thrilling enough just to have been juried this (scroll down the page on the link, you'll see what I mean). I'm speechless!


Monday, June 15, 2009


The last couple of weeks have been rough...the kind of weeks that sear the very edges of your soul. I've been overbooked, under rested, stretched too thin with my back up against a few too many walls and a painful dose of conflict thrown in for good measure. So, having found myself with an unexpected free hour I decided to take a long, leisurely stroll through Reynolda Gardens. I haven't done that in a very, very long time, but I used to go there often in my younger, single days and sit on this very bench to contemplate life and refill my spirit.

This was a gorgeous day, with the sun shining but not too hot. Being late morning there weren't many people there, so it was a perfect respite from the load. I took the chance to play with my new camera and had a great time looking for beauty and inspiration. Of course, here, one does not have to look is all around.

There is a huge formal rose garden, one of my most favorite parts, and the roses are just coming into their own. Cliche, I know, but it really does help to stop and smell them! It takes time to meander through the pathways and really see each variety. On past the roses, the vegetable and herb gardens are progressing nicely. I can't imagine the number of hands it takes to tend it all.

I laughed out loud at this one...we do grow some unique things here in the South. And to think, I had mine the hard way....

I happened upon this bridal shoot and it was so beautiful I couldn't help but snap a shot myself. What a perfect setting to capture those special memories! I hope I didn't distract them.
I wonder if anyone has told her about the children's garden? :-)
My last stop was to wander through the greenhouses. I love them almost as much as the outdoor gardens. Lots and lots of cacti with their great textures, and the most amazing collection of orchids. I took more pictures than would be practical to post here...suffice it to say that the time spent there was just what I needed. I came away refreshed and renewed with a big collection of new photos for inspiration.
I especially loved this looks like an angel...

Thursday, June 4, 2009


The Beecassos are having their second exhibition of unique art quilts at Chelsee's, on Trade Street in the Arts District, from now through July 1. First Friday is tomorrow night so come on out and see what we've done!

That's my work on the cover of Community Arts Cafe (insert squealing, clapping and cartwheels here!!) Click on the link to read more about the Beecassos, and to learn more about arts in the Triad.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Spring for Art!

The last two days have been a flurry of activity as I have been designing the hanging of Associated Artists Spring for Art. Mark your calendars for this Friday, May 29 beginning at 7:00 and join us for our spring fundraising evening of fabulous food, wine, music, and of course ART. Lots of it...over 100 amazing pieces! Tickets are available in advance by calling the gallery or may be purchased at the door.

Here's a little sneak of my entries, "Fire Tree" which is needle and steam felted wool, soy silk and Angelina fibers, hand beaded and stitched to canvas.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Arts in Education - the final workshop

My last workshop for the Arts in Education program of Associated Artists was held at Southeast Middle School, where we did Positive/Negative surface designs on fabric. Positive, by adding to the surface with fabric paints, and negative by taking away from the fabric with discharging. It was a small group, but we had fun and I had creative kids who did a great job!

I have really enjoyed presenting these workshops. Having art in the public schools is very important to me and I'm glad I got to be a part of this Arts Council grant program.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Angelina Art

This fun little piece was made by Wanda Norman, who took my Awesome Angelina class at Sew Original in Winston-Salem, NC. It is titled "The Midnight Sun." Nice Job Wanda!

I will be teaching the class again at Sewingly Yours in Lewisville, NC on June 20 from 1-3. It is a fun, no machine required, hands-on class.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More Arts in Education

Recently I was invited to present another workshop as part of the Arts in Education program through Associated Artists. This time I went to Glenn High School in Kernersville, NC and as usual I was very impressed with the work I saw hanging in the classroom, and equally so with what the students did with their fusible expanded square designs. Take a look at these...

Aren't they terrific!? I had a great time...those kids are so creative!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Channeling Rayna

Today was my turn to facilitate the monthly meeting/workshop for the Beecassos, my local art quilt group and we did gelatin monoprinting, inspired by Rayna Gillman and her book Create Your Own Hand-printed Cloth (it's one of the best books I've purchased, and you can get your very own signed copy from her site, so go over there and get one!) We had sooo much FUN!
Why gelatin, you might ask? Well, you know how much fun it is to's even MORE fun to play with it! Pure JOY. I could spend days printing this way...

slime green...wonder who did that one? :-)
We used all kinds of things to create patterns and texture. I gathered lots of different leaves from my yard...long leaf pine, maple, oak, strawberry, dandelion, ferns, and I even realized after years of battling this noxious weed mess that I can't get rid of - don't know what it is, that it actually has perfect leaves for printing! I did stop short of using the poison ivy I found (reminder to self, go spray that!). We also used pool noodles, thread spools, straw, netting, bubble wrap, a potato masher, a spatula, foam stamps...lots of stuff. Did I mention how much FUN we had??
Rayna, wish you could have been with us in person!