Friday, April 23, 2010

magical moments in the studio

Here are my latest renditions of what I've done with fabric and threads. Well, let's not forget a tad bit of lace thrown in some of the pieces too.

I want to give credit to an artist named Stephanie Levy for inspiring me to create this scene. I love looking at her artwork. I wish she'd put them all in a book that I could peruse through day after day after day.

And then I got this wild hair about trying out a new technique (for me anyway) with dresses I drew. I played around until these three showed up. They remind me of little fairy dresses.

There is little I enjoy more than going into my studio and being alone with my fabrics, threads, beads and imagination. I know I need to market more, to set up my etsy account, to blog more often, to visit galleries and boutiques... I know I need to do all of that, but there is something so magical about my time spent in my studio. Something always shows up that surprises me. I look at the end results and am in awe. Those are the moments when I truly let go. I totally surrender to the process and allow whatever comes forth from the process.

It is a gift I get to savor over and over. This treasure of magical moments that turn into tangible items people cherish. It fills my heart to overflowing. What magic. What joy. Ah...I soak it in.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Life with Aprons!

Here are a few samples of aprons that I've made for Spoons Garage on Kentucky in downton McKinney.

In another lifetime I was a quilt shop owner, a fiber arts teacher, and another quilt shop employee. Throughout that time I accumulated massive amounts of fabrics, beads, buttons, paints, ribbons, yarns, etc.

A few years back I designed and had built a home that included a studio for me. The studio was the entire upstairs -- 1200 square feet of space to house my stash of fabrics, notions, and books, not to mention the room for designing my art. This room had a 180 degree view of a lake to the north of us, and the mountains to the west.
Since leaving all that behind, I'm still going through boxes of treasures that help me create items such as these aprons. They are all ones-of-a-kind because I'm using up fabrics that are no longer being made.

Even though the aprons are on display at Spoons Garage across from Cadillac Pizza Pub on Kentucky St. Spoons employees and customers have been requesting special items just to fit their needs.

This one here has buttoned pockets for a cell phone and iPod with a narrow pocket in the middle for a pen. It's a size large and my free form is a size 4, so it swallows it up pretty well.
The ties, or handles as I like to call them, are extra long so that they can tie in the front. It just adds a nicer look to it, I think.
If there's anything here you'd like to see in person, feel free to stop by Spoons Garage or you can email me at
And thanks for stopping by the blog.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I have visions of threads, fabrics, beads, buttons, and whatever else I can get my hands on. I dream them. I view my world as blankets of fabric and threads. While others may see grass I see shades of green and brown fibers sewn on linen then washed with gesso or diluted acrylics. What others may view as skyscrapers in Manhattan, I sink into a world of gray and brown hand-dyed fabrics with thread-outlined windows and doors. I take in life with waves of colored fabrics, variegated threads, glistening with beads and buttons.
Gather more ribbons and lace and trims, sew on gold buttons, vintage beads, and antique jewelry. Keeping the rest of my life simple is easy, so it's surprising that I embellish my artwork so profusely.
If I feel down, I dip my hands through buckets of beads and buttons, and life brightens.

And the same happens when I'm at my computer writing, or dipping into one of my many journals, or reading lovely words written just for me.
Words, fibers, beads, buttons, paints and inks...I'm smitten.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Turtles All The Way Down

September 2008 I went to Peaceful Valley, Colorado for a 5-day workshop with Tom Crum called Journey to Center. Tom was the co-founder with John Denver on the Windstar Foundation in Snowmass, Colorado in the '70s. Since I have been a huge fan of John Denver's since I was 14 years old (in 1970), I knew about Tom Crum. At least I thought I did. After reading his books and talking to Judy Warner, his team member extraordinaire, I knew I had to go to this workshop. It turned out to be one of the best things I've ever done for myself.

Using Aikido, Tom taught us how to flow with the energy around us instead of resisting or trying to control our circumstances. How futile is that anyway, but sometimes we still think we can.

Tom is a master with stories. He told stories over and over to get his point across, and one of his finest ones was about turtles. Now, it's been close to a year since I attended this workshop, and I've moved, changed careers and hair color, began and ended relationships, so I'm not going to attest to the accuracy of this story, but here goes.

A man went to his guru for the answer to his most burning question. He asked him, "Master, if Atlas is holding up the world, then who's holding up Atlas?"

The master turned to this man and said, "A turtle."
The man scratched his head. Puzzled, he questioned him again.
"But, Master, if a turtle is holding up Atlas, then who's holding up the turtle?"
Without missing a beat, the Master responds: "It's turtles all the way down!"
I think of this story often when I begin feeling overwhelmed with what's happening in life. We're just being held up by turtles, just how serious can this be? When I laugh about my craziness, I thank Tom for reminding me who I really am and to lighten up.
So, of course, upon returning to my home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, I didn't leave my studio until turtles were created on many different pieces. Using threads, paints, organza, and even beads, I developed turtles like there was no tomorrow. In this one, I put Atlas' foot on one quilted piece connected with beads it to the longer one with a gazillion turtles holding him up.
I did this piece on commercially printed cotton using organza for the turtles and thread painting them with cotton threads. I love the turtles hanging off the fabric. You can really see their little bodies designed with thread and organza.
This one and the white one are made from silk scraps that came from an interior designer's warehouse in southern California. The beads on the background were already on the fabrics. I just free-motioned embroidered the turtles with the thread. I just can't look at them without smiling.
So, whatever is going on in your life, just remember it's always and only
Thank you, Tom!
And also, if you want to see the stitching up close, click onto the pictures. You'll get a better idea of what the pieces really look like.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Stabilizing Men

I love men. That's surprising considering I grew up with three brothers who gave me little reason to love the opposite sex. That's all I have to say. About that anyway.

However, I've met some amazing men in my life that have given me many opportunities to love them in many different ways. Here's my own rendition of two of them.

The men depicted in this piece of art are brothers that have got to be two of the nicest men on the planet, so I had to make something to give their mother for raising such people that bless this world. The one on the right, Kevin, and his wife, Amy, invited me to live in the apartment above their garage. They are two of the most amazing people God put on this earth. Amy is the epitome of unconditional love. I consider it such a privilege to not only know her, but to call myself her friend.

I took a piece of stabilizer and ran it through my printer, printing their picture onto the fabric. I laid it on top of batting and thread-painted the men's features, coloring their hair and moustaches with thread. I then layered that on top of another piece of batting that I painted and then put it on top of cotton fabric, appliqued the roses, and then quilted the curlicues onto the batting. After the wall hanging was assembled and quilted, I beaded the heck out of the leaves that were appliqued onto the piece.

I'd never tried this technique before with the stabilizer and was really happy with the way it turned out. I got a lovely thank you note from their mother telling me how much she loved it. So, I got to successfully play with a new technique and give a gift from the heart. I'd have to say that it was a fabulous time altogether.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Honoring Women

I have such a love for nature. I'm infatuated with leaves and flowers especially. When Working Mother Media from NYC contacted me to do another piece for them, I eventually produced this one.

It was made for a woman from the Middle East who helped women rebuild their lives after being in wars. I got a note from her saying that she was an artist also and her favorite color was red. I loved hearing from her for several reasons, one being that she validated for me that I was "getting" the information about her correctly while working on her wall hanging.

I thread painted flowers and leaves onto netting and then heavily stitched around the outside of the flowers on the netting to sew it down to the wall hanging. This piece is actually 4 small "quilts" sewn together with beads and hand-sewn beaded fringe embellishing it.

This piece was made from strips of hand-dyed cotton fabrics woven together, stitched down, painted with acrylics and then 3-D leaves sewn onto the top. I made the leaves from fabric snippets, leftover threads, and anything that was small enough to use like pieces of elastic and clothing labels. I also used metallic fabric paints to highlight the quilting stitches

I love Angelina fibers and created the flower from it. These fibers change colors and texture once they're heated. I create "fabrics" from the fibers by fusing them together and then cutting them into different shapes before sewing them onto my artwork.
The black swirls are appliqued onto the quilt top and then sewn as a background with the other black and red fabric. There's nothing like a lot of stitching to enhance any piece.

I have such fond memories of this wall hanging because I took it to NYC with me when I met the women at Working Mother Media that I've been working with for years. I loved being able to see the looks on their faces when they saw it for the first time. We were in Luci Knight's office. She hung it on her bookcase and invited all to come in and view it. The women there were so gracious and complimentary. What a treat for me to meet them and have lunch with Luci and Janet Wigfield.
The hats on this piece are appliqued and beaded. The top parts of them stand up a bit to make it look like they're talking because it was made for a woman who wrote a play called "If Hats Could Talk."

This was made for a female singer, if I recall correctly. Someone from California. The bird is made from a wedding dress and thread painted heavily to show the feathers, beak, claws, and eye. He's sitting on a tree branch and illuminated with gold paint stick. Thread and ribbons are couched on top of the piece. He stands out against black velvet and his feathers may be touched up a bit with watercolor pencil. It's been so long since I've done this, I can't be positive.
It's been fun tripping down Memory Lane with some of the work I've done for Working Mother Media. I just got off the phone with Luci. We were talking about my next piece for Henrietta Mann due next month. I look forward to seeing what shows up in my studio when I get to work on her piece.
Working Mother Media, Luci, Janet, and all others involved, thank you for such a great experience with you for all these years. And all you women out there, keep giving the world your best. It's an honor to call ourselves women.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sprinkling fairy dust

There is nothing like showing up in my studio for the day of magic that lies ahead. I normally do not have an agenda, a to-do list, or a facsimile thereof. I walk into the studio prepared to do whatever I'm inspired to do. This is the only way I know how to create with the magic in there.

I often get requests for doing commissioned work. One company that's been doing this for years is Working Mother Media in NYC. The pictures in this post are examples of the work that I've done for them.

This one was done for an Asian woman who was involved with a dance troupe involving dragons, if I recall correctly. I apologize for not remembering it exactly, but I've moved 3 times since this was commissioned and have made more pieces than I can count. So, my memory about these wall hangings and the information available about them is not within my reach at the moment.

I painted the dragon in the middle with acrylics, outlined it with thread sewn by machine, and then added oil paint sticks. After layering threads and yarns of all kinds around it, I put a piece of netting over it and sewed like a mad woman.

You know that saying, give me liberty or give me death? Mine goes something like this: give me fibers and beads or give me death. That's how strongly I feel about having those things in my life and being able to work with them on a regular basis. There is something so fulfilling, so uplifting when I do what I love, and I so desperately love art and words, among other things, but right now I'm focusing on my art.

Working Mother Media commissioned me to do a piece for a woman who had worked with a company with the word triangle in it. I was so enamored with the concept of triangles that I used many of them in this wall hanging. The triangles are iron fused onto the background fabric. I embellished them with beads and stitching. Just looking at it now reminds me of how I just got lost in the process of making this. When Working Mother Media commissions me to do artwork for them, I never know the women the pieces are for, but I sit with their bios and pics until something comes to me, and this is what showed up for this woman.

Here is another commissioned piece by Working Mother Media for a woman that they were honoring. I made flower petals and leaves from florescent-like fibers. They bond through heat and change colors after melting together. The background was made from a dress I cut apart and painted. Then the flower was assembled with its leaves, thread painted, and then accented with oil paint sticks.

There are more leaves and flower petals that connect the two pieces of the wall hanging together with strands of beading. Quotes from the honoree embellish the bottom part of the piece.

Love the beaded fringe. Sometimes there's just no saying no to beads.