Friday, December 30, 2011

More stitching, but is it finished?

 I posted the photo below a couple of weeks ago.  The central panel is a linocut made by Dijanne Cevaal, around which I sewed fabric repurposed from an African dress.  I stitched it, photographed and then posted it, thinking I had finished.  Since then, I've been adding more stitching.

The top photo is as it is at the moment.  The question is:  Is it done?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Friday was a "newsy" day

To celebrate Sisters in Cloth's exhibit at Guilford Free Library, we hosted an Open Meeting and invited art quilt friends to share the moment with a big Show and Tell.  Above is Betty Warner explaining a recent challenge while sister Barb Adams looks on.

Crowded around, we were all interested in Cher Hurney's pieces that she brought back from her recent workshop in Santa Fe with Katie Pasquini Masopust.  They were wonderful...and inspiring.

Claire deLombaert brought one of her Kaffe Fasset inspired pieces.  She recently was one of the featured artists at an exhibit at Willoughby Wallace, which included this piece.

Old friend Judy Siccama brought an amazing work, showcasing her incredible sense of color...okay, and precision piecing.

Karen Loprete delighted all (as usual) with her playful, colorful work.

The event was such an overwhelming success that before we left, we all decided it HAD to be annual.

Then the "news"...awaiting our return home was an yahoo announcement from one of our Sisters who was absent from the meeting.  Vivika Hansen DeNegre apologized for her recent absenteeism with a grand announcement:  She has been selected by Quilting Arts to be the new Editor!  We could not be more proud of "our" Vivika!  Quilting Arts will undoubtedly be the better for having her...and we will bear up, missing her input at our meetings, but none the less, very happy for her.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Dijanne Cevaal created this linocut.  She has an amazing series of them.  I bought the central figure from Dijanne this past October before she left Australia for Europe.  At the time I asked her what limitations there were in using the linocut in my own work.  She quickly responded that there were no restrictions..."She is for all the corners of the earth!"

It was very meditative stitching on my own Sentinel every evening.  

Thank you! Dijanne!

Monday, December 5, 2011

One's a Rumor, the rest are Gray

This first photo is the full complement of It's a Rumor.
From the left:  My piece along with the photograph below.  The next three (Ruth Anne Olson, Marie Shepherd and below Martha Wolfe) are the three to whom I gave the rumor.  Next is Barb Adams who received hers from Ruth Anne.  The following top piece is Carol Ludington's who received her rumor from Marie.  Below hers is Robin Wolek's who received her rumor from Barb Adams.  Finally, the series of squares, is Gail Kotowski's.  She also received her rumor from Marie Shepherd.

The next three photographs are the full wall that contains the better part GRAY. Our challenge for this exhibit was that each had to use the color gray.  The ultimate height could be no larger than 48"inches to remain within the mounting wall.  Otherwise, it was wide open.  

 It's an interesting, colorful collection, bookended by the two black, very graphic pieces.  In order:  Yvette Howard, Marie Shepherd, Gail Kotowski, Diane Wright,

 Debbie Bento, Vivika DeNegre, Ruth Anne Olson,

Linda Zimmerman, Robin Wolek, Robin Wolek (again) and finally Barb Adams.

This last photo is GRAY continued on another wall.  Left:  Diane Wright, Barb Adams, Diane Wright and Diane Wright (again).

You can click on each image to enlarge.

The exhibit will be up through December at The Guilford Free Library, Park Street on The Green, Guilford CT. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's a Rumor: Last Exhibit of the Year

My art quilt group, Sisters in Cloth, for the last several years has been invited by the Guilford Free Library to exhibit our work.  Every year we work toward a new collection specifically for this venue.  This year we produced two!  Quite a feat for us.

This first one is titled "It's A Rumor".  Inspired by the old children's Telephone Game, we decided that one person would start with a photograph, produce an art quilt inspired by it, then write an artist statement.  It would be the artist statement, not any images, that would then be passed to the next participant, who would, similarly, produce an art quilt and an artist statement.  This artist statement would be the only thing passed along to the next participants, and so on.  This was all to be accomplished in secret and very quickly, just like rumors in the real world.  Each of us had a week to produce, write and pass it on.

This is the Artist Statement that I shared with three others:
It’s a Rumor

In my mind’s eye the “modern” architecture of 1950s America is a nostalgic reference to that of 1750s New England with its spare forms, strong lines and distain for ornamentation. This early architecture said much about the settlers but nothing about the New England landscape; then and now an exuberance of growth and color, especially in autumn. I’ve tried to capture both architecture and landscape in this photograph and art quilt.

(Photograph:  1764 House at Tanner Marsh Road and Clapboard Hill, which WAS NOT shared until today, our reveal date)

Martha Wolfe was one of the three with whom I shared.  Below is a detail of her piece.  You can go to her blog and see a full description of her piece and her process.

Robin Wolek received her Rumor from one of the members that I had passed to.  She in turn produced this piece and the following Artist Statement:   

I received the rumor from Barbara Adams.  The points that she spoke about that resonated with me were colors associated with the Fall season, architecture and stained glass.  I created my piece using some of my favorite fall colors, with deliberate lines and some black to depict lead found in stained glass creations.  I used variegated thread to stitch different patterns, mostly lines that I used to emphasize the presence of architecture in my piece.

Most of the meetings in which the Rumors were passed were taped by member Vivika DeNegre. 

The whole exhibit is a real treat.  It's interesting what some people hear...color, line, dates...and where that takes them in their imaginations.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I reviewed Rayna's new book

No one is surprised when they learn that I hate to read instructions or follow directions.  This, I firmly believe, results from being brought up in a strict military family (how many five year olds to you know were regularly restricted to quarters for insubordination?...just sayin').  So, you will be surprised to know that I didn't pull my usual stunt and just look at the pictures to see if I could figure out what information I wanted to glean.  Nope, I actually READ Rayna Gillman's new book create your own free-form quilts!

Her voice is loud and clear in her writing...there was no ghost writing going on here.  So, of course, you smile a lot.  I think her book is useful for art quilters at any stage in their development.  Certainly those new to our medium would be wise to buy it, and, interestingly, those of us more seasoned art quilters will find it very handy guide to get out of those doldrums that beset us from time to time.

The piece above I've titled "Cats Can Always Tell"(13"x16").  I put it together this afternoon, quite literally from the bin of scraps next to my machine.  I always create a narrative about whatever piece I'm working on and this one started out titled weeds....then it morphed to allergies...and finally, with the addition of the Laura Burch designed cat fabric, it became Cats Can Always Tell....because I'm allergic to them and they always CAN tell.  They love me.

I purchased my copy directly from Rayna's blog and left my review on Amazon.  You might consider doing the same.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Creative Procrastination AGAIN!

Yesterday I must have really been overwhelmed at the prospect of pricing and packing my inventory to take to the Guilford Art Center where I will be during the Shoreline Arts Trail Open Studio Weekend.

Instead, I made this little baby quilt which I have titled Red Fish/Blue Fish.

I uncovered an assortment of Malka Dubrawsky's fabric.  I think the 5" squares were a birthday packet that I'd stashed away.  I paired them with all that remained of a piece of fabric designed by Jean Ray Laury that I scored from ebay (I think) years ago.  Jean Ray Laury was "modern" before "modern" was modern, which made me think it would make a good combination.

You might want to check out Laury's website if you are unfamiliar with her.  Her work would ALWAYS bring a smile to your face.  My buddy Yvette and I were lucky enough to catch one of Jean Ray Laury's last lectures before she retired...just plain dumb luck on our part...and now we are so thankful.  She died this past March just before her 83rd birthday.  She was a real pioneer in fiber art.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Open Studio Weekend!

SAT logoIt's here again...already...our annual Open Studio Weekend. Preparations are proceeding slowly. I keep getting sidetracked, which is probably my avoidance defense activating itself.

I did get some useful chores done. I stretched There Were Stories About Great Grandma.
When I bought the thermo-fax image of a Victorian woman, it reminded me of the old photographs that I had seen of my great-grandmother. Apparently she was a one-off, force of nature with an indomitable spirit that propelled her family from recent immigrants, through the Great Depression, to successful lives. While she, herself, had no time for needle work, she must have appreciated those who did, as she died with a sizable collection of others' work, including her daughters'.

The central hand dyed piece was purchased from Connie Rose.

The second piece of progress was having a mat cut for Consider the Kelp. It is a 10" square piece that had been a part of SAQA's This is a Quilt. And I really like it better now that it is framed. Hopefully someone else will too and want to purchase it ;^)

I probably won't post until again until after the event...unless, of course, my defense mechanisms take over. It's a heck of a way to avoid packing and pricing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fiberactions Reveal Day

Block by Block: The Building of a Great American City

It was my turn, the last member of the current Fiberactions group, to post my "word". Choosing turned out to be more of a challenge than I would have thought. Finally I chose the word structure.

Originally I had planned to focus my "structure" piece on a cellular or molecular level. Before I had a chance to explore that idea I had an overnight trip to NYC. When I returned and downloaded all of my graffiti, buildings, and interesting people photographs, I became more interested in the buildings. The NYC buildings compared to the Melbourne/Adelaide/Perth, Australia cityscapes were especially interesting. They were all built in essentially the same way, block by block. And block by block created personality, if one can attribute personality to stone, steel and glass.

I like weaving backgrounds...this time it gave me the chance to use some very interesting "building" suggested fabrics...even the sky. The photograph that I used was some taken from our hotel room in the theater district in NYC. In a way, I'm sorry that I didn't choose one with graffiti (another of my favorite collectables)...but, perhaps that would have taken attention away from the blocks.

The experience with posting challenges every two months has been interesting too. Some times, I'm fully engaged and excited with the task and then others...well, not so much. It's those "not so much" pieces that seem to push me to explore more. The Fiberactions group continues with a different cast of artists. I'm sure it will continue to be interesting, and if you will pardon the word, challenging.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Claire and Her Friend Vasco da Gama

Yes, THAT Vasco da of the most successful Portuguese explorers in the 15th century. My granddaughter Claire is 9 and in the fourth grade. Remember all those explorers?

Her project was to research daGama and, today, make her presentation to her class. Two things struck me when she showed me her display.

First, she's much more computer savvy than I. But you could have figured that. To support her research she figured out how to find a shape of Africa...and print what she needed. Then....and wait for it...the best part...she chose to make her map from FABRIC! She is always welcomed to "finds" in my scrap bin, where she announced to me that "this green over-dye will be perfect". She decided against rick-rack for daGama's route mapping, choosing pliable wicking material instead. After the wording and markings were complete she rooted around in my studio until she found some tulle to overlay..."perfect ocean material".

Okay. A rant from a proud grandparent. I usually reserve this platform for art quilts, news of quiltmakers, my travels...especially as it relates to quilts and fiber...and the like.

But her approach to her project touched me, as it reflects our relationship and the value she places on "my" medium.

I always wanted to make a difference. I've come to understand that I may. but the differences will be small (I gave up on world peace decades ago). I choose to see this as one of them.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Connecticut Women Artists' Opening

Yesterday was the opening reception of Connecticut Women Artists' 2011 Members Juried Exhibition at Gallery 53 in Meriden. It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon, perfect encouragement for the appreciative crowd.

I was struck by how many mixed media works were included. It was wonderful so see the combination of watercolor, acrylic, pastel, encaustic, fiber sculpture, loom beading, oil, wire and glass, monotypes...oh, and a very interesting oil and embroidery...collected into a very engaging exhibit.

If you are in the area, it's worth a visit. It will be up through Dec. 3

Pictured here is (L-R) Wendy Thornley's All Over A Woman's Body and my Salon: After Matisse being viewed by DH.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Creative Juices

"Sentinel" is finished....I think. I never really know with my work. Sometimes I finish a piece, photograph it, enter it, perhaps, and roll it up to be stowed away. Then at some point I stumble on it again. I find that it looks unfinished and I start tinkering all over again. So if you have any thoughts...I'm open.

"Sentinel" is made from two pieces of fabric, one I purchased years ago from Sunny Bunny Designs and the other, a piece of black Kona cotton, I recently discharged. It is hand (the shibori) and machine (the dark) stitched. I cut a stencil and painted the moon/sun.

Saturday was the monthly meeting of CT Fiber Arts Collective. Because the power is still not available to many parts of CT, including the library where we ususally meet, Barbara Khachane graciously offered her home to the group.

She is pictured here with her finished project of the day.

Carine Greene, using Gwen Headley's book Drawn to Stitch, led the group in a quick line study. It was fun for us all and a really good exercise in flavoring those creative juices. We were all charged up and ready to get back to our studios.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

DOUBLE TAKE: Photo and Fiber/Reinstalled (AGAIN!)

My art quilt group, Sisters in Cloth, has been very fortunate with our collaborative exhibit with photographer Rosemary DeLucco-Alpert.

Our first invitation to exhibit at Haskins Labs at Yale University coincided with the development of our collaboration...... using a selection of Rosemary's flower photographs as inspiration. While it was there, Rosemary had the opportunity to exhibit at the Guilford Free Library in its new gallery space. She asked us to share the opportunity and move the collection when it came down in June. Then, providentially, Rosemary went out to a local restaurant after the Library opening, ran into the Art Director of Connecticut Hospice in nearby Branford and was invited to "travel" the exhibit there for Nov-Jan.

With all of Rosemary's other teaching gigs and photography work, I stepped up to liaision with CT Hospice. Because of that freaky snowstorm mentioned in my last post, we could not hang the 43 (!) pieces as my excellent hanging team had planned. Instead brave "Sister" Barb Adams and I partnered to hang it two days later.

In the top photo Linda Zimmerman and I interpret Rosemary's Three Roses. Next is Yvette Howard's Blue Hydrangea. The second photo (L-R) includes Martha Wolfe's Asian Lily, Linda Zimmerman's Pink Hydrangeas, and Debbie Bento's Sunflower.

CT Hospice is situated on a gorgeous campus, formerly a country club...oops, I've been corrected by my buddy Barb Adams,...actually it was formerly a corporate headquarters, overlooking Long Island Sound. The exhibition space is open to all. It's a meeting space with gently curving walls, a wide vista of the Sound and devoted to art exhibits. Actually, the curved walls helped Barb and me decide not to be fussy about hanging the frames in any uniform way. We chose to create visual pairings. It might be fortunate that the hanging team wasn't involved after all. They are all much more fastidious about details and exactness and we'd probably still be there hanging the last frames.

This last photo was shot by just turning around from the exhibit and shooting through the windows. That's a bit of the view. It's a very beautiful.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Procrastination Worked Again

I have heard from "people who shall remain anonymous" that I've taken procrastinating to a whole new level, but sometimes (okay, rarely) it works.

I joined this SAQA/CT regional group. Here's the most recent info.

Connecticut Fiber Arts Collective

The Connecticut Fiber Arts Collective is a group of Connecticut based artists dedicated to promoting Fiber and Mixed Media Arts within their communities. The group formed in 2011 to provide support for individual growth and to challenge each other to push the creative boundaries. The group meets monthly to discuss a cross-fertilization of knowledge, techniques, ideas, and dreams. The goal is to hold exhibits at venues throughout the year to expose Fiber and Mixed Media Arts to the public.

The members come from a wide region, even if you consider that Connecticut is a really little state. Some have to drive better than an hour for the monthly meetings. Included in the group are Mary Lachman, Carol Eaton, Cher Herney, Carol Vinik, Diane Cadrain, Rosalind Spann, Toni Torres, Carine Greene, Barbara Khachane, Jeanne Landry and Karen Loprete.

It is a very energetic far since I joined in April..we have had three exhibits, two in West Hartford and the most recent installation in the teeny village of Middlefield (which, interestingly, is in the middle of the state). This teeny village has a very active library (like what else is there to do?) that invited the group to display small works in its entry.

The first photo is "Identity". The second is the installation team: Roz Spann (with her eyes closed), Carol Eaton and Diane Cadrain.

Now for the procrastination part. Carol Eaton had volunteered to create e-vites to our artist reception for Nov. 3...tomorrow night. You might have heard about the freak October snow storm we had here in CT this past Saturday. In fact, JUST after the photos were shot. Currently 500,000 households are still without power. (actually worse than the recent Hurricane Irene when my own household was without power for seven days) The little active library is likewise without power. So, no reception. Now none of my buddies need to be notified of the cancellation. Procrastination at its best.

I just let DH preview this blog entry and his comment is that "you don't give procrastination enough credit. You know there's a whole field of creative procrastination." Just sayin'

Friday, October 21, 2011

Returning to the scene

I thought I'd finished this piece, the first of a pair that never quite got to be the series I'd planned. (Remember my friend Vivika said "Two's a pair. Three's a series) I'd even sewn on the sleeve.....but it wasn't doing it for me. Parts of it I really liked but there was a reason I wasn't responding to it.

First I removed the sleeve and stipple quilted the background which, truth be told, I should have thought of earlier.

Still not doing it for me, so I screwed on my courage and picked up my paints.

I like it well enough to tackle it's mate. I'm now in the midst of stipple quilting the background of this second one but haven't got the paints out...yet.

I guess things just need to percolate in the dark recesses of my brain before I can "see" a solution.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mystery Solved!

First, the mystery: Remember my last post about the beautiful fabric from a forgotten source? Well, okay, not forgotten...more not remembered. I was right that I had acquired it this year as it was fairly high in the stack of treasured pieces on my design table.

It was created by Dijanne Cevaal!! As soon as she emailed me I remembered....of course! I met with her in Geelong, Victoria, Australia while visiting there this past Mar/Apr. How could I have forgotten?! Oh, oh, BTW go to her blog. She has some of her fabulous Sentinelle's for sale.

The photos in today's posting have nothing to do with the mystery or Dijanne. They are pics I took at a regional quilt show that I enjoyed this past Sunday. The Farmington Valley Quilt show was one of the best local exhibitions of the season. I had high hopes as it is the guild for several of our art quilt buddies.

This first pic is by Judy Ross and won Viewers' Choice. The second is also one of her pieces. The third is...oh, darn...I don't have it's creator! I took the pic as it reminded me of the work of one of my old friends, Jude Larzelere...and, surprise, it was created by one of her pupils.

I have even returned to the digital image to read the show luck. You'd think after the last post I would have learned to write these things down. How soon resolutions are tossed aside. Sad.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Here's a rhetorical question for you: Did you ever have a piece of fabric that you just couldn't cut?

The real question for me is: Who created this beautiful piece of cotton shibori that I could not gather the courage to cut?

As many of you know, I'm not often very happy with the fabric that I dye and only somewhat happy with my discharging efforts. This is exactly why I support others who are successful. I buy their work.

This shibori was purchased from someone...probably within the last year (dating it by the depth at which I found it in my stash). Connie Rose? I don't know...I think I bought greens from her. Sunny Bunny? No, I think I bought warm colored arashi shibori from her. Anybody gotta suggestion?

I have to get better organized (want to enter a poll on how many years THAT'S been on my New Year's Resolution list?). I'm going to try to remember to write in the selvedge the name of the source in the future. I'd love to be able to thank them again, and give them credit, when I have used their work.

I can say that the binding was fabric that I discharged. :^) At least I remember THAT.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Summer's Last Kiss

That's how DH described our stay in New York City this past weekend. He's a romantic, but he was referring to the weather. It was wonderful! And, I think it infected everyone from security, to tourists (who were really plentiful!), to cabbies, to wait staff. Everyone was in a friendly, festive mood.

Example: One of our cab driver's radio was playing Mozart when we entered. I commented on how I liked what he was listening to. He said yes, and he thought that it was probably unusual to hear in a cab. I asked if he was a musician himself. He said he was and asked if I could guess his instrument. I could not...with that he began to SING! He was his own instrument. He sang opera...all the way uptown! Gotta love that!

We were in NYC to rendezvous with one of my brothers. He and his wife were celebrating a significant birthday with a cruise to Quebec, beginning in NYC. The meeting also provided me with the opportunity to see Carol Taylor's exhibit at Art Quilt Gallery next to City Quilter.

Here are two of the pieces in her collection. I've long been an admirer of Carol's work.

The second reminded me of the photo that I had taken the night before from our hotel room.

We had a wonderful weekend...NYC at it's best.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Self Portraits

On the "continuing to evolve" front, I have just finished another self portrait, titled "It's Just Me (with a slightly checkered past)". This one is for the newly formed art quilt group CT Fiber Arts Collective.

The third exhibit (!) for this group is coming up in November at a library in Middlefield CT. It's a small venue. The group has elected to put together a collection of "Identity" pieces that are small (12" on a side max) and displayed on small easels.

To further that sort of display, I gave a little demo on Saturday on how I mount pieces on foam core. I was able to save them least I know some of the pitfalls.

This most recent self portrait seems a bit retrospect I think it might reflect my anxiety at having so much to say and, as I age, not enough time to say it all....forget about my ideals about making any real difference in this world.

The second one, Two Heads Are Better Than One was created in 2006 for an exhibit of "Sayings/Axioms/Truths in Fiber". I think I look a bit bewildered....

The last is still my favorite....where I'll stop without analysis.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Another SAQA Auction "win"!

Yeah!! I have been able to add Sandy Gregg, another of my favorite artists, to my growing collection of art quilts. This one is titled "Leaf Litter 9".

Okay, I have this huge collection of my own work...but that's clearly not a good thing. I need to find appreciative homes for them.

In the mean time, I can't think of anything that is more fun: collecting artwork, especially that of friends. That's a bonus.

Thank you, Sandy, for supporting SAQA's annual 12" square fundraiser.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

SAQA Auction "Wins"

I was so happy to have "won" the bidding last week for Cathy Smith's wonderful piece in the annual SAQA fundraiser.

Titled "Waiting for Roasting" it is part of her "Roasting Marshmallow" series that incorporates digital images of her rural surrounding. The "marshmallows" refer to the giant hay bales that are wrapped in white plastic for storage.

I was also delighted that my submission to the auction "Shards of the Day" went to a collector in Bend, Oregon!

The last phase of the auction is on at this moment....go check it out. I am ;^) There are a couple I have my eye on. Click here