Monday, October 10, 2011

New Blog Coming Soon!

Subscribe with Bloglines I haven't posted in a long time as I have slowly been creating a new blog that should be easier to find me. You can find it here, although not much as been done or posted as of yet. If you'd like to have a look and care to give me any suggestions - please go to
Thanks! Hope to see you there soon!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Subscribe with Bloglines 
So - I did sign up for the sketchbook challenge and I know I haven't posted anything yet. So - I'm taking the leap and posting now.

So - I showed this to Steve and asked him who it was. He said he had no idea. I asked my friend, Jennifer, the next day, and she knew immediately that it was our daughter, Keri. Okay - so I did it from a photo that doesn't look like her that mu ch, but c'mon. If Jennifer recognized her, ????? 
I did this with Micron pen.  So - it's a start.

It's not perfect, but look at the photo I sketched it from
I don't know why I can't get it closer, but there it is

 Here are also some fool-around sketches of a wine label that I've always loved called "The Other Hand". Not something you'll find in your local stores, but a really cool label.

And - my copper gingko leaves - I MUST post those, even though they are painted.
These were the inspiration for the copper gingko leaves I created for "Tranquility".
Sketched, then painted with copper metallic paint.

I use my sketchbooks constantly in designing my work. I like to draw loose sketches, and while the finished work rarely even resembles the original sketch, I like to keep it for future reference. good for another "beginning".

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Some finished work

Subscribe with Bloglines 
I feel better - I finished 3 more pieces for the Jonesboro, Arkansas show. Having 3 snow days following a weekend was a major help - giving me so much extra time. I really needed it, too, because the last piece gave me such angst in trying to figure how to attach the metals to the fabric, while retaining the integrity of the metal. 

This piece follows the "Reeds" piece previously shown. This is titled "Dunes", as it reminds me of the beach. Thanks Jennifer - for not letting me chop half of it off and giving me a hint at how to fix it. Add some cattails on the left!

Here is a close-up of the copper "grasses". On this one I thread painted some of the short green grass on water soluble stabilizer and tulle in a hoop, then dissolved, trimmed and stitched them on to cover the bottoms of the paddles. They just didn't look right in this piece without the grass.

This long skinny piece I just call Chains - because that's all I could think of. I started out with just the center black rectangle, then added the narrow rust, but realized that wasn't enough, either. So I gave it more presence by adding more black.

Here is a closeup. Red copper wire pounded flat and kind of woven together. The gold looking diamond on the orange fabric is actually bronze mesh - it's a metal cloth. I pound this with my hammer and it gives it really cool highlights. This was a lot of fun. I will make more like this.  No angst!

This is the angst piece - "Tranquility"! So titled because it does look very simple and tranquil - NOW! - but not so tranquil trying to figure out how to actually accomplish it caused me great anguish last week.

 Below is the left panel - the gingko branch. The branch is copper that was dragged through liver of sulphur to darken it and then hammered to hold its shape. I hand-stitched the branch to the fabric with smoke monofilament thread.

The gingko leaves were cut out of thin copper sheeting, hammered so they would keep their shape, and then the lines were carved in with a stylus. I hand-stitched these leaves to the branch with copper metallis thread. You can also see the little bit of free motion stitching on the "moon".

 This is the detail of the panel on the right - the bamboo trees. These were cut from the bronze metal mesh. This stuff really hurts when you are cutting it - it's very sharp and sticks in your fingers. I was having a lot of trouble trying to figure out how to stitch these onto the panel. I tried just stitching straight down the center with clear monofilament thread, but the holes looked huge and it was horrible. Took that off. Then my biggest fan (Steve) suggested that I stitch them on the "nodes" - where they have their growth spurts, or whatever. I did that with smoke monofilament thread. The bamboo leaves are copper sheeting that I hand cut, hammered, and embossed lines. So how to get these to stay on?  I actually did it on the sewing machine with monofilament thread. I then dabbed some clear glue on the thread to help hold it.

So - my 3 new pieces for Jonesboro. Sigh. And now I'm having a 3 day weekend (MLK) and my muse went on vacation. I have accomplished nothing. I have a piece on the table that I'm playing with, but as Steve says, I'm at a wall. Working working working for so long and so intense. Need to just breathe. 

Thanks for reading and I would appreciate any suggestions - like how I'm going to ship these things! lol!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Updated and New Work

Subscribe with Bloglines 

The winter storm that is moving up the east coast began here about 5:15 this morning. Beautiful big flakes of white snow. But we know that following the snow is the nasty sleet and wintry mix that makes driving so hazardous. All of the public schools are closed and that's usually my barometer for whether or not I stay home. The university isn't closed, but the snow, etc. hasn't hit there yet. I hope they will close when the roads start getting bad.

So - I have another day in the studio!  I promised Laura that I would post photos of the pieces she and Eileen helped me with at lunch last Friday. The first is the one I posted last week. We decided it could do with a little more "presence" - so here it is with some attitude!  I really do think that adding the large black background helps it a lot.

And here is the new one on the right. The piece is laying flat on the worktable. I'm working very slowly on this. I've changed the original design completely - that will be a different piece altogether. I'm enjoying working with the copper and bronze mesh and wanted to do more with that, so here is a look at the preliminary layout. There are still lots of changes and additions to be made, but this is where I am beginning.

On the left is a closeup from overhead. You can see the "moon" hiding behind the two panels and the bronze mesh bamboo trees on the left with just a couple of copper leaves suggested. My plan is to lightly threadpaint the moon to highlight some of those "clouds" crossing in front of it. The right panel will have the gingko in copper. I know it will need more, but that will come when this part is more finished and I can better feel what it will need. 

So - we are making potato soup with leeks and ham today and staying inside where it is dry and warm. Back to the studio! Thanks for checking in and please feel free to make comments or suggestions!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy New Year and New Work for Jonesboro!

Subscribe with Bloglines
First - Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you all had a warm and wonderful time with family and/or friends. We did both and are so thankful for the fact that we get to see all of the kids and parents, and that we enjoy it.

I am way behind in both keeping up the blog and getting these pieces made for the show in Jonesboro. I should have 10 pieces done by March 1st, so I can let them know sizes, numbers, etc. I am excited to report that today I have 2 pieces very well on their way and several sketches that I can't wait to get to.

As I move along this new path, I find I am really enjoying playing with fabric and metals, and making something arty and unusual and hopefully, beautiful, that others will enjoy. I know not all others will, but I hope some will. I like the Chinese-style coins on the right and the hammered and colored copper wire. I haven't yet decided how to attach the wire, or what I want the final effect to be.

Well, here is a HUGE detail photo of the top of the piece. Orange torn, hand-dyed fabric (dyed for me by my friend, Laura McGrath -, copper sheeting that I annealed with a blow torch and hammered for texture, and a curly-cue of bronze mesh. Combining fabric with metals is a lot of fun and offers such a variety of textures and techniques.This is a very preliminary stage. Nothing is attached except the background, which is sandwiched with batting and black backing. But I am still thrilled with how much I have accomplished in 2 days. I don't believe I've been able to do this much in months and months.
I'd like to know your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, etc. about this piece, but please hurry! I have a lot more to do, both on this and upcoming work. And I am off work all this week, so I intend to be creating in leaps and bounds!

AND - have you considered your word for 2011?  I hope mine will be two-fold - Search and Discover. I intend to search out more techniques for working with metal on fabric and discover more about myself and  my fascination with both metal and fabric.
I hope you will think about what you'd like 2011 to be? Rather than making resolutions that will be broken within a week and make us feel guilty again, why not establish a word in your mind that will inspire you? I'd love for you to share them  - either on your blogs or here, on mine.

Thanks for looking and have a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sketchbook Challenge

Subscribe with Bloglines
I have just joined Lyric Kinard's Sketchbook Challenge for next year. I have several sketchbooks in a variety of sizes. Perhaps this challenge will help me fill them up faster. And improve my sketching skills along the way.

We have just finished putting up the outside Christmas decorations. For the first time in my life, I get to have outdoor lights! I was going to put them up, but when I climbed up the little ladder on the porch, things got a little tilty. Fortunately, Steve came to the rescue and put them up aftet I put all the little clips on the keep them on the roof. What a guy. We put the tree up this morning and got the lights on (multi this year). We had to stop and do the outside because it's supposed to rain cats and dogs tomorrow. So we I can finish the inside tomorrow. Steve raked the entire yard and is a bit whipped, so I won't push him today. He has to get the stuff down from the attic. And he does help decorate the tree.

As far as art - not much going on. I did get the background for a new copper piece stitched together, but the copper paddles I was using fell kind of flat against this piece of dull green fabric. I'll have to use some other colors. Since I learned how to make alcohol inks this week, I think I'll go make some and paint some copper paddles darker. Great idea! No photos right now, sorry.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Studio!

Subscribe with Bloglines
Well - the time has come and now I can share some photos of my new studio! I am so thrilled. Steve was so generous in taking out the twin beds. In his words, it really did sort of look like "a yard sale" with all of the stuff piled on the beds and everywhere else I could find to stash it. He has been an absolute gem in wanting to do this right. His eye for detail is spot-on and I am so grateful. It was also quite nostalgic for him to turn this completely over to me. We removed all semblance of the boys living there. He did have a couple of moments, but he was still all for it.

After my good friend, Lynne Lanning (Quilting Quest Quilt Shop!!) was kind enough to take the beds over to my mom's in her pickup truck to store, I cleared the room. Sorry I didn't take "before" pictures, but it was total chaos.

Last weekend we drove to Charlotte to IKEA to get the shelving. What I had seen online wasn't nearly big enough when I saw it in person. We did find something even better and it's terrific.

Here are the 2 shelving units we purchased. They can actually be used vertically or horizontally. I chose to use them horizontally, as I felt like they gave me more usable storage space.

Steve really wanted me to have a good place to work. He was concerned that I be comfortable and have good views all around me. Now I can see out the window on my left (no photo - duh), my stash shelves on the right, the doorway & hallway so I can tell when he's coming in without startling me (!) -

So now I have no reason not finish enough pieces for the show in April in Jonesboro, Arkansas. uh oh. ! ;)

I didn't have a design wall up yet and Steve had decided he wanted mine to be mounted on the wall and be framed. wow. I would probably be the only fiber artist I knew with a framed design wall. He thought about it some more and decided that a nice sized cork board would work (and relieve him of having to figure out how to frame the design board! lol!). I covered the cork part with flannel and Steve stapled it in place. It's not that large, but I work fairly small, so it's perfect for me. You can see a bit of the design board in this photo -

Thanks to Laurie and Ian (our kids) for their terrific taste in lighting fixtures. We went to Lowe's to look for one like they had, but they didn't have one exactly like it. We found this one, instead, and it works perfectly. I can change the arm direction and point the little spot lights wherever I need them. I love this fixture.

I promise to get better photos when it is all complete.

We intend to add a little more storage in a couple of weeks. I need a place to put my thread out in reachable distance from my sewing/work table. And there might be a bit of rearranging, but not much. Thank you to my incredibly supportive husband. I am a lucky woman!