Saturday, December 28, 2013

Restoration M103

14"x16", painted fabric, embroidery, machine stitching, handmade stamps, blue fabric pen, paper napkin, satin ribbon.
Had a good time putting these three embroidery pieces together. I hadn't planned on palm trees but one thing led to another. I saw an ancient fan like carving on a museum site and next thing I'm cutting into a rubbery stamp. I've learned so much using fabrics, beads and embroidery in my art making this past year. One of the things I have learned to accept about me is my strong color palette...I just can't seem to work with neutrals for any length of time before I pop in some purple etc...! The key always for me comes back to breaking loose of patterns and counter that with accepting personal ways of mark making ... a fine but not so easy balance.
On New Year's Eve day I'm going to settle down with notebooks, study books and find a plan on how to proceed in 2014, an outline of sorts. I'll also find a new word ('stillness' this past year has been wonderful) that will act as both an anchor and or wings to the days ahead. I know I plan on reminding myself that this is the year I learn to delete my camera photos and get rid of that pesky date that shows up, more important plans too. Later I'm going to meet with husband at the beach and share our writing ... a mini retreat ... hope to finish off with a nice ritual, maybe wrapping up our written plans, maybe a ritual burning or maybe we will just haul it all home for reference. It will be cold out there so our sharing will be to the point!
However you approach the New Year ... I wish you all health and happiness. Crossing over to the New Year, a year never lived before ... 2014!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

2nd to the Third

measures 5"x5", embroidery and machine stitching, painted and stained loose weave cloth and purple cotton backing.

Actually I have done a third small piece and have begun combining the three together ,,,painted and stained a larger white muslin and have been adding stamps sewing and now at a point of stopping and looking for awhile. This narrow piece represents my final piece of the year, my inspiration has come from my ongoing study and dreaming of archaeological digs ... the assembling, restoring and cataloging of ancient (?) items. A rich personal experience as well so I'm taking my time to truly savor the process. Plan on returning before the New Year or just after but today is a celebration of its very own.  Winter Solstice! I wish for a happy short day and a warm long night ahead ... turning!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

One of Three

The misshapen square measures approx. 6"x6", embroidery, glass beads on painted loose weaved fabric attached to 10"x10" purple cotton cloth.
Slow going in these days leading up to Winter Solstice. I have three squares I'm combining and this is just the first. The color is a bit off as the threads are a light gray and lavender and here it looks white. My plan is to combine these in a long rather narrow east to west shape. I've dreamed of fringe and added fabrics but not sure at all how it will play itself out. I have my latest archeology magazine, a few study books and I've a brand new notebook so I'm ready for anything that might show up! Also have a few gift cards and coupons for art supply and fabric store so at anytime I can make a run for more stuff! With that said I'm prepared( if the work takes a serious turn) ... with a foot and hand massage appointment ... I've got it covered!
Happy Holiday fun!

Monday, December 2, 2013

"Chalice Recovered 6244b"

12"x14, screen printed cloth, machine stitching, embroidery, beads, pearls glued and painted glass bead fringe attached to silver embossed metal sheet squares. Fabric paint and acrylic colors, recycled paper momigami effect, fabric pen markings.
I began with screen printing a palm motif on cloth and the run of fabric paint formed a goblet or chalice shape. I went with the shape and took a journey with a wide variety of embroidery and beading techniques. This little desert series has been good for me, it has led me to some new ideas on how I want to proceed through the winter. I'm a believer in allowing the work to inform and to expect a dialogue between me and in this case the fabric. Many archeology sites end their digs at this time of year and proceed to catalog and report their findings. My urge to make lines and letters on the fabric has resulted in a direction of cataloging and marking these pieces as related to finding personal memories, images as well as ancient stories.  I'm going to begin some serious journal writing as well as begin working with small abstract shapes in order to find my direction for larger fabric pieces. How I combine several smaller pieces will be one of my challenges. I'm still very excited about color, shapes and texture using beads, embroidery and cloth marking. I'll report back with some of my first efforts

Sunday, November 24, 2013


5"x5", gelatin print on muslin, loose weave fabric, embroidery, blue beads and hand made gold bead fringe.

The holidays are stacking up for us this year. I'm ready for Thanksgiving and now getting ready for our Hanukkah. This is a fabric card I've prepared for husband. I'll attach a paper backing with a special note and add this to his present. We are having our dinner and present exchange on the last night of Hanukkah so we can space out our feasting! I hope he likes this and is surprised...he almost never goes on this site unless I ask him so I think my surprise is safe.
I'll be in and out of the studio and hope to post with a new piece later next week.
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Happiest Holiday Season to each and everyone of you bless my life!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Temple Cloth 08b"

9"x13", hand strung fringe, seed beads, embroidery, machine stitching, fabric markers, screen printed cloth, painted cotton.
This little piece has worked as a sample for my fringe beading lessons. The needles are so thin and fringe is created by stringing the beads through the needle and then turning around and threading back through the same beads? I had no idea! I used pieces of small stones which made my fringe making all the more challenging. The mark making is becoming important to me with each cloth and I'm feeling more and more like I'm cataloging, or preparing these fragments for restoration ... metaphorically speaking!! The three odd squares came from a screen printing on loose netting and the all over combination of reds and yellows gives the cloth an 'on fire' appearance to me. I've already started my next cloth and this time my palette with change to grays and whites. It is a screen print on burlap and I'm hoping to heavily bead the surface ... beads, beads and more beads!
Today is our 7th wedding anniversary ... time is just flying by! We are exchanging cards and going out to dinner. We both are embarrassed to admit we completely forgot to celebrate last year. We didn't even remember until several weeks after the day. Maybe it is a good sign?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sacred Cloth Revealed 2

13"x14", layers of black satin, netting, muslin and loose weave printed cloth, machine stitching, embroidery and beads, ink pen markings.

Beginning new work with my focus mainly on machine and hand stitching. In this case I was trying for a weave effect by sewing a variety of rows of stitching to create a design. An old cloth uncovered, frayed and stained ... a remnant of a cloth of possible sacred use. Trying also to stay with desert colors and shapes. I used four thin layers of cloth to give depth and as a reminder of what remains after a long time of neglect. I'm interested in starting my next piece and hoping to include bead fringe. I picked up a 'Bead' book at the library and I'm excited to try some new methods with beads. Bead fringe will be my first new effort!

Friday, October 25, 2013

And the Winner is...

Drum roll please, shake that tambourine .......the winner of this Giveaway is ROXANNE OF RIVER GARDEN STUDIO!!!!!!!!! Congratulations Roxanne and please send me an email with your mailing address...I will try to get this notebook in the mail by Monday! Thank you to everyone who left a comment...blogland is such an encouraging place.

My birthday is going well, thank you for all the good wishes! Dinner out tomorrow night and a great lunch ahead on Sunday.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

My Big Giveaway!

I once again partnered up with to create a book. This time I'm sharing my fabric pieces related to my study of the book "Walking the Bible" by Bruce Feiler, who was featured on a PBS special. I decided on a notebook as the best way to serve the images and allow for writing. I think of this notebook as a travel journal, a writing at dusk after a long spent day, or it could be used in the morning after a dream filled night and or writing in the afternoon with a cup of tea. The notebook measures 6" x 9", about 100 pages with 18 pages of photos intermixed among lined paper.

So click above and preview the notebook and then return here and leave a comment. On October 25th (my birthday) I'll pull a name from the big blue bowl!



Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Carnelian Night Garden

8"x10", black burlap, bleached fabric, beads, cotton backing, machine stitching.

My original intention was to begin new work with pale desert colored cloth and then this little black unraveling piece caught my eye as well as the remainder of my carnelian looking beads. So one thing led to another and I paired this dark cloth with cut out shapes revealing bleached printed floral fabric. These blossoms took on a moonlight glow for me. I added the beads in a splayed out fashion and added a red backing. I quickly ironed and photographed this piece as it was really difficult to hold a dream.

The photo is of a silver and carnelian ring I've had for well over thirty years. I was told at the time it was old and possibly created in Morocco. Its design resembles the old poison rings and has always brought up
romantic desert tales for me. The stone is found in India which makes me believe it could have easily found itself on a caravan as a trading item. Carnelian is considered a joyful stone with calm energy. I wear it often stacked with other silver!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gathering Again

Just love some of these methods for marking and printing fabric. It's been a full year since I began art making this way and I've enjoyed the challenge...learning new stitches, fabric printing and composing with soft cloth. I'll give myself another six months and maybe even a complete year to see what might be next. I have here for my first gathering three very open weave cloths, beads and screen frame. This post covers my "intention" and my beginning "gathering"  of the creative process. Need to set to work as the third step, which is called the "explosion" can be rather fun! Maybe a big mess....unexpected colors, shapes and just general surprise! Have a great week art making!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ancient Gate

12"x12", embroidery, machine stitching, screen print with metallic fabric paint, paper, painted cloth, aqua metallic thread, dark blue satin.

I "found" this gate in a piece of abstract screen printing that had been laid aside for months. Once I cut out a gate shape, the story of the ancient garden began on my journal pages. Writing about secret mystical gardens, walled gardens and how the garden might appear in both daylight and starlight. I've had this aqua metallic thread for years and was so happy to finally use it for the first time. Each corner has a piece of tattered fringe denoting the four corners (directions) of the world. I did finally get my camera to pick up the sheen and color of the dark blue satin but at the same time I lost some of the depth of the metallic fabric on the gate. Oh well, I need about three more pieces to complete the journal I'm creating so it's onward to the work table!

It's been a perfect Indian Summer. Our High Holidays are over...yesterday we walked the beach still barefoot watching the birds and sailboats. Today the wind has picked up! The evenings are getting shorter and I've ordered some new thermal tops...yes, it is all changing!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Garden Relic 3

8"x12", bleached cloth, painted cloth, glass beads, paper, embroidery, satin.
Question: What is moving me forward on these cloth pieces?
First, the story and in this case, ancient gardens brings up for me, a world of exotic images. The other is my fondness of putting together unlikely fabrics with beads, trim and stitching. The hope of seeing a dream realized. So I continue on...slow going but I'm on my path. This time I used two cameras and trying to adjust to the very different results. One darker image I posted on facebook and this one is from my new camera which is still a mystery to me. The colors seems truer but the sheen is flat, beads and satin are rather dull. I took both photos at the same time, same light. The newer camera is small and harder to hold, to steady my hand so this image is askew. I'll keep trying as the old one is really old and could give out on me.

I spent some time this week re-visiting all the houses I've lived in from New York to California...12 houses counting my grandmothers home. I didn't have any expectations...most homes held up well with modern improvements and only two showed some neglect. Sadly one half of my grandmothers flower garden was turned truly into a parking lot?! I so enjoyed peeking at these houses and neighborhoods...thank you Google!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Getting Lost!

Scraps cut out of a larger piece...stamped cloth, beaded and embroidery and machine stitching.

I could easily blame too much summer fun and too many days away from the work table for this fiasco. I'm not sure where I went wrong and if I can bring these fragments alive again. I made choices that resulted in problems that I corrected only to become a catastrophe and that led to desperate rescue attempts that became for me, a fit of frustration . From high levels of anxiety, I reached for the scissors and began cutting away and this is what I've salvaged. Now what? I'm going to the movies today (Blue Jasmine) to get away from myself and when I return I will look at this again. I do know I'm still interested in the series about ancient gardens so it must be a matter of next steps.

I remember  years ago sitting in a coffee house with my artist friend and mentor Josie  (an Abstract Expressionist who worked in a large format) and on occasion she would look at me with serious eyes and say "Mary Ann, I need a breakthrough" and I would nod and agree both heart and mind. My friend died several  years ago but I still hold to her advice and determination. I miss her and so fondly remember those coffee dates that could go from serious art talk to outrageous laughter! Oh well!

Tell me how you pick up from getting lost?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"Leaves over Bone"

11"x12", painted cloth, painted paper, stamped cloth, machine stitching , embroidery and hand sewn bronze beads.
This piece is rather small and the center stamped rows are of a muddy leaf motif. The bronze beads scattered about are difficult to recognize. The title "Leaves over Bone" describes for me, the many layers of revealing what was before...sweeping away dust and seeds, uncovering, exposing gardens and patios only seen in dreams.

I don't know much but I do know my work is changing. I have clear preferences on materials...assorted cloth, mostly cotton mixed with papers and trim. As for techniques I have plenty to explore and right now machine and hand stitching have my focus (I'm afraid of by sewing machine instruction book?!) as well as the addition of beadwork. Sewing beads knots up my fingers and strains my eyes but I do love the end results of those shiny beautiful colored beads. Archeology (Middle Eastern) is a passion and lately the study of ancient gardens have been taking me to interesting sites. So the summer is rolling along. Here we have damp misty mornings and sunny afternoons with the fog rolling back in by evening.. Our new year begins in Sept and making art with cloth continues!

Friday, July 19, 2013

"Simple Blessings"

12"x20", flour paste resist, digital silk transfer, embroidery, machine stitching, tissue, momigami paper, and copper wire.

This is the third and last of sacred cloths. What binds them together is a palm border and similar size. This composition gave me fits as well as the strong yellow of the momigami paper (party napkin). The two handled pitcher is Canaanite and the clay bowl has Hebrew letters inscribed...both ancient.

There are over a hundred daily blessings and this one of blessing hand washing is so simple and perfect to me. I've sat at large holiday tables and the pitcher & basin have been passed, giving each guest a chance to make ready for the holiday. At some tables the pitcher has been fine silver, porcelain and others clear's the humble ritual , the coming together, the agreement to begin that I have always found so warming and rich.

In my own mountain of memories, I recall being called in for dinner with clear instructions to wash my hands first. In order to help, my father would take on the job with a warm wash cloth. I can still remember my hands in his big hands and after the wash up he might pull out his pocket knife and trim my nails. All this in preparation for a very ordinary dinner meal. My sons were a challenge in the washing up area and I do remember LAVA soap as one way I could get their little hands cleaned. I see young mothers in restaurants using squeeze bottles of hand sanitizer on their children's hands before beginning a meal...we are a people in a hurry but I guess it gets the job done. In my quiet life I prefer a big bar of soap and rinsing my hands while reciting the blessing...a way of setting myself right in a simple way.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Storehouse Counting

12"x21",silkscreen border palms, embroidery and machine stitching, digital prints, gelatin prints, momigami paper, metallic mottled paper and metallic paint, wire, cotton, satin cloth.

This is the second in my sacred cloth series of three. I never thought I'd place so many images but I was trying to show volume in real and ghost images. The jug reminds me of a feminine fertile shape and my research takes me to the ancient storehouses. Once people settle and discontinue desert wandering there is a need for storehouses. Olive oil, wine, vinegar and fish sauce to name a few would be accounted for and held in cool walled spaces. The ancient fish sauce referred to as Garum, was a condiment used on a variety of dishes. Recipes from Greece, Rome and Spain tell of a combination of fatty fish as sardines, fermentation and an addition of herbs. A remnant of this sauce was tested and it seems this fish sauce was high in protein, amino acids, minerals and Vitamin B. Please pass the Garum!! I added markings as inventory or accounting marks of all these valuable containers. The metallic papers used in the border were a gift from friend Deena years ago...never knowing when they would ever be used.
Personally this storehouse reminds me of mine (shed) where I keep stuff., some valuable and some not so much. Boxes of family memories, an accounting of sorts, citizenship papers, passports, birth, death and marriage certificates. One box is full of photos. First generation Americans, Norwegian, Russian, Polish...mostly with stern faces, formal suits, hats and shoes. I know some of the faces but others could be cousins, uncles, friends...who are these people? I'm at the end of my generation and the next will have no connection to these ends with me!

I had a wonderful visit with my son...the weather was perfect and we had great dinners at the harbor sitting outside watching playful otters and the coming and going of boats, good food and spectacular sunsets. Tuesday  we had a 10 hour blackout which resulted in computer problems and today is my first day back online...very painful indeed! So I'm back well rested and working on my third sacred cloth and enjoying this July!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

"On the Boardwalk"

Photo of our Boardwalk taken from the wharf. The tourists are here, the rides are up and running! I can here the screams and the waves when the wind is right but mostly it is the traffic that changes when summer arrives. My son will be flying in from Corpus Christi TX for a great summer visit...I'll be taking time away from this blog to enjoy him in the days ahead. I'll put aside my almost finished second piece and post it when he flies home.   HAPPY SUMMER SOLSTICE1

Thursday, June 6, 2013

"Fading Memories"

12"x20" embroidery, Momigami, found papers, machine stitching, dried flowers, digital transfer on silk, wire and ribbon.

This is the first of my proposed three sacred cloths using the palm motif. I tried once again the technique of Momigami. The green rectangles and also the tan rectangle in lower center. This tan cloth began as those thin brown recycled napkins and after oil and crumbling it became a soft delicate cloth?! The jar is a silk transfer of an ancient jar with Hebrew letters incised into the pottery...a very rare find. I see this cloth as a collection of memories both the sewn jar and the transferred image seem to be as faded memories of daily desert rituals.

On a personal note some of my sweetest childhood memories were of spending an occasional few days at my grandmother's house. I was 6-7 and now that I recall she was my age that I am now. Our mornings were spent moving a gigantic garden hose around her yard watering her beautiful flowers. The garden was glorious and there I learned about azaleas, carnations, wisteria, roses and daisies to name a few! After our gardening she would prepare my breakfast which was always the same: a soft boiled egg perfect with salt & pepper, golden toast generously buttered and a warm mug of coffee mostly milk. Sacred memories for me!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Palm Motif

I found this design of a border of palm trees and flowers online at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The palm motif was very popular all the way back to the ancients and I will be using it on each of the three cloths I'm putting together but with different colors and all. The printing process is called 'water soluable glue and textile paint'. Simply put it is silk screen over a hand drawn dried glue design. I created this freehand using a squeeze bottle of glue in order to maintain the raw image. I used a green textile paint for the print and then added raw umber by a roller on the fabric. I've added embroidery and used a 'daisy chain' stitch for the flowers. I'm still getting excited about learning new stitches and adapting them to my images. This is just the beginning border to the altar cloth so I have plenty to do and I admit Holidays and BBQ's are keeping me away from the work table. Friday is marked as an all day studio day...Wooope!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Thread Shopping!

It all began with me needing black embroidery floss but once I started opening the little drawers revealing all the colors...well, I was lost in color lust. Thankfully I had a 25% off coupon and a 10% off offered to artists working with cloth. I just began opening the drawers and picking out colors that I was drawn to...that spoke to me. I put a few back and I was surprised at the limited blue (favorite color) but for now this will determine my palette. Most of the colors are light and grayed down. Tell me do any of these colors call to you? I have in mind to create three altar cloths (fragments) so now to get to work

Yesterday we saw "The Great Gatsby" and we both enjoyed it so much. I was taken with the over the top visual scenes and musical score and yet the film stayed with the original dialogue...I recommend. The next movie I desire is "Inside Llewyn Davis". One section of the review by Sasha Stone states "though it takes time for him to realize that to achieve greatness in music--or any art for that matter--is to access parts of yourself most of us keep hidden."  For me that is an Amen! I'll take a small popcorn with butter and a bag of m&m's please!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Oasis Light

11"x13", Bleached fabric, handmade stamps, ribbon, found papers, embroidery, bronze beads and digital transfer on voile.
In this piece I used some of my very bleached cloth and stamped pieces which I then added beads and embroidery. The photo is of an oasis, the only oasis I can say I have visited. It is not located in the Sinai but rather in the California desert. They look very similar and are mostly fed by underground springs. I've read that the desert is not a silent sandy place but a rather noisy place what with the wind, bugs, birds and animals. This piece is in answer to the last piece depicting night at the oasis. I'm imagining  daylight at the oasis to be remarkably different...more alive and safe. The cold night fears are relinquished with the clear explanations of seeing and hearing what might have caused such fears. Shadows and swishing sounds could easily be attributed to palm fronds and tall grasses. Rings of light can now be seen as possible reflections on water from the moon or dense starlight. Isn't that always the way...night fears give way to the warmth and clarity of daylight. How many times in my life did I worry only to see and think more clearly in the morning?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fresh Start

An assortment of surface cloth treatments. Starting from the left is a brocade strip which I have touched off with embroidery, the yellow and purple squares began as paper napkins which I applied a momigami (Japanese}kneading technique. This technique allows the paper to become more clothlike and easier to sew. The bundles of cloth with rubber bands are folded cloth ready for a bleach bath and the stamped cloth is another step after the cloth has been bleached, dyed and now stamped. Not sure where these will fit but it is good to have these ready options.
The events at Boston had a profound affect on me and I've lacked the energy to go into the studio for art making. I've watched all the horror on TV news since my early 20's but some hurt me more than others. I did get into the studio with these explorations and I'm feeling better this weekend. I'll begin again this Monday with a piece I had started before Boston. During this down time I also had my carpets cleaned and yardwork done...another way to step into fresh starts and feeling hopeful again.
I just don't understand how we all live on this one planet?!

Monday, April 15, 2013


12"x14", newsprint, papers, satin, digital photo transfer on cloth, flour paste resist, machine stitching, embroidery and beads.
This was my first effort in using diluted wallpaper paste, a way to attach papers to cloth thereby having an easier time sewing by hand and with sewing machine and allowing less rigid edges.  What is nice is after the glue drys it is still possible to lift a piece of cloth....I'm always changing my mind! The center piece and the circle piece were created in part using the flour paste resist process and the result is a crackled design which I like very much. I took the photo of an oasis while watching my DVD on tv and it came out a little blurred...also turned it into sepia toned. Funny, I bought this newspaper when I was in NY about 25 years ago....the ever wonderful gifts of the collage box!

Thinking about the journey in the desert brought to mind my own traveling. We drove across this country in our twenties and for years we took family road trips. We planned ahead with reservations and all but occasionally the road and circumstances would leave us entering our destination after sunset. The gas stations lights glaring, street shadows and neon signs flashing gave a rather unnerving feeling to our road weary selves. So it was easy to wonder about the ancients traveling in the Sinai. Approaching an oasis with babies crying, animals hungry and everyone tired and thirsty. Again moving shadows, a place of safety or not? Settling into sleep and bundling for the desert cold...hoping for the morning light to chase away the fears. Actually daylight has a wonderful way of calming worries.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"Leaving Egypt"

9"x10", newsprint, digital cloth transfer, satin ribbon, printed cloth, leather trim and machine stitching.

I've been thinking about the act of leaving of moving, not so much about where one goes but rather about the place left behind. I lived many years in the central valley of Calif and never liked the area. I had plenty of reasons, conservative politics, unbearable summer heat, small town thinking but in the last year when I was packing up and selling, I took to really 'seeing' what I was leaving. The green fields of asparagus in spring, the acres of sunflowers in summer, the waterways, bridges and islands, the warm evenings and the geese in fall flying overhead. I said goodbye to the parts I loved and when I drove out of town I never looked back!
So this piece relates to the biblical account of leaving Egypt and I couldn't help but wonder besides all the bad there must have been, that last look appreciating  the marshes and the fertile Nile. This piece represents a vestige of what was left behind.
A process I have been exploring has been how to best combine paper to cloth so the piece is not too stiff and can still be machine stitched and soft enough for embroidery. I'm not interested in creating 'quilts' but the composing is tricky for me...anyway I tried using diluted matt medium and next I will try diluted wallpaper paste. Can you see the loose threads representing marsh grass?
Have a great April...!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Desert Lamp

14"x20"  Desert Lamp

The desert lamp has too many methods for me to has been a wild ride. It all began with some writing concerning desert nights and as I would write and rewrite it would set off changes in the cloth image. I would say this piece has become my personal Sampler as I can "read" all the different fabric treatments. It will be a valuable tool for me because I don't take notes and easily forget what I did and when. I have a few books that have been very helpful especially in the area of warnings. I don't have the lungs or brains to waste so I'm glad about the cautions. "Art Cloth" by Jane Dunnewold has been a wonderful resource and I recently picked up "The Found Object" by Cas Holmes. I'm excited about reading and experiencing this fresh well written textile art book. I discovered Cas Holmes "Bee Mapping" on Art Propelled  ...thank you Robyn!  I have taken some time to look at all I've accomplished this winter even down to learning how to thread my sewing machine. I so like approaching an adventure(big or small) and I can say the same for my studies of "Walking the Bible" by Bruce Feiler. From this great book I've been led to subscribe to Biblical Archeology magazine which has become a real treat month after month! I have a small show planned for next January and I do plan to take these cloth images and create a calendar/notebook for 2014. Which images? I'm going to continue on this cloth adventure so it will be interesting what I can put together at the end of the year.

Spring cleaning including yard cleanup! I've purchased herbs and annuals so this weekend will be potting washing down the deck and turning it back into an extra outdoor permitting!. We might be a few weeks ahead but I wish everyone a fresh new Spring! Melt snow, melt! Happy Fall to all on the other side too!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Looking for Light

15"x20" piece of muslin, printed stamped fabric, stitching around X's, narrow side panels, assorted chalk drawings.

Slow moving in the studio this week so I thought I'd share work in progress. I really don't know the proper way one puts these cloth pieces together. The sheet of muslin as my base allows me to pin, cut and compose as well as having the loose background to fit into an embroidery ring for stitching and beads. I draw with a chalk pencil over and over and even when I lay fabrics out it can lead to an entirely different piece. At this point I've written a short poem about lantern light and now I'm dancing with images and shapes. I'm interested in using french knots and some metallic and right now I'm loving the X printed sample. Everything else is subject to change.

Spring has sprung. This morning the birds were nest building and chirping away. We purchased daffodill buds and they are already beginning to open! It was actually a mild winter but a change in seasons is always welcome!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Dome of Heaven"

10"x15", painted cotton cloth, chiffon, machine stitching, embroidery, metallic and cotton thread, black beads and red glass beads.
This piece began with the painted fabric found once again after rummaging through my scrap box. The fabric had become rather stiff from the paint and so I began composing strips to strips, square to strip using my old standby the zig zag machine stitch...metallic, gray, yellow and black threads. Also added the blue sparkle chiffon as the dome. Years ago I bought 1/4 yd fancy evening fabrics to use someday?
I've been watching my DVD "Walking the Bible" and scene after scene of the Sinai and Negev Jordan River and Nile river scenes have been astounding. What is so fascinating to me are the color changes brought on by sunrise and sunset. These views of rather bleak brownish areas are transformed into dances of pink and lavender or golden yellow and orange. These beautiful combinations as well as the sparkle of light glittering on dry rocks giving the feeling of glistening water! Because of this DVD, I think I have several more desert expressions to compose. It is getting close to Spring and working with fabrics was my winter project....but now I find myself wanting to continue this art form through to summer. I also have back ordered some supplies from Jacquard inks...more silk screens, inks, and instructions for unusual applications.So I continue to dream desert dreams right here living on the edge of white foamed waves....I have the best of both worlds.

UPDATE:  Hurray...this is my 400th post!!!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

"Pharaoh's Daughter"

8"x10, cotton cloth, screen printed, silver foil, embroidery, glue resist, flour paste resist, Jacquard screen printing ink.

I recently became fascinated with the mystery of the tomb of the Pharaoh's Daughter. The tomb in Israel is a beautifully created monolith made out of a single block of rock...made by Egyptian design and it at one time held a pyramid style roof. One coffin and highly decorated with paint and mosaics. Dated to the eighth century B.C.E., the time of King Hezekiah of Judah. Nothing remains, grave robbers ransacked it all. At one time Byzantine monks lived in this tomb and made changes during 4-6th century C.E. The mystery goes unsolved but the name sticks. It has been known all this time (thousands of years) and still is named the tomb of Pharaoh's Daughter.
I bring this up because I decided to make a mosaic from my cloth sample...a tribute to a daughter, a fragment of something beautiful long lost but not forgotten.

Screen printing has been quite a challenge as I am using unusual approaches. I used a flour-paste technique that I just couldn't get right....too much water, too little water, tape lifted?? I'm not a patient person and each time I waited for 24 hours drying time to figure out my mistakes!! A more successful process was using a common glue as a resist, a grid on the screen. I will use glue resist again but am now aware of the careful hot water scrubbing and clean up?!. I printed, over printed, added silver foil, embroidery and machine stitching. I can say it has a well worn appearance and the grid does give a feeling of a mosaic. whew!!!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Learning Curve

 Update: I've had to add word verification for comments for awhile because of some daily spam visitors.
silk screen prints, Jacquard screen printing inks, (water clean-up) freezer paper stencils both positive and negative views, sample of gold foil on fusible web, embroidery.

Oh what a fine mess I've made! Hardly know how to proceed but willing to try new stuff! These samples beg for more of something so I'll over print on them as my next step. I'm using a simple leaf design so I can spot my efforts. My plan sounds a little odd...I'm mixing flour and water and applying it to the back of the screen. When it drys, I can make marks and then overprint these leaf prints.This process and the freezer paper effort come under the title "Impermanent Screen Surfaces" described in the book "Art Cloth" by Jane Dunnewold. After the printing is complete the screen is washed and you begin again with a blank screen. Reminds me of monotypes that I loved so much years back when I was using oil based inks!

I haven't let go of my desert vision as I'm trying to stay with muted desert colors. How any of this will turn out is pretty much a wild guess. I'm willing to print, overprint, cut, stitch, embroidery I am totally in love(for now) with cloth as my art expression!

Thursday, January 31, 2013


13" x 13" bleached, over printed stamped cloth and stenciled cloth, leather piece, canvas sides cross-stitched and blanket stitched top and bottom framing, Hebrew, Aramaic & Greek writing examples found at Qumran.

Creating this piece was interesting and involved many efforts and changes. I was considering the forty years of desert life reported in the bible and for a time it felt like this piece might take me as long to finish! It started with the frustration of tearing apart my old leather purse.There was a fuzzy backing glued to the underside of the leather making it impossible to remove or to stitch. I wound up using a decorative panel from the purse as it had the X stitching motif. A high point for me was teaching myself cross-stitching. The two white narrow side panels have a row each of my cross-stitching. I like learning and getting out of my comfort zone and I'm all for breaking rules but I do find in these older years high levels of brain freeze! I really had to practice on those cross stitches and looking at examples and reading instructions became a waste of time. On that same note I'm going to attempt screen printing. In all my printmaking courses, I never took silk screening? I want to explore some innovative approaches but before I do that, I need to familiarize myself with the basics. I'll post some of my samples in the next few weeks. Still staying with the desert series focusing on texture & colors. Wish me luck....might need a few dinners out, some catalog shopping therapy and if all else fails....champagne!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cloak Panel

10"x17" panel, bleached overprinted stamped cotton, red & blue beads, fringe with silver beads with dark navy satin background.

Cloak panel is in the colors of the (red, blue & purple) high priests of the Bible. It was written that small bells were attached to the fringe on the hem of the cloaks. I couldn't find small bells so silver beads seemed to be a good enough choice. I'm getting quite good at sewing on beads and especially enjoyed sewing them in circles. My apologies about the photo as the winter light is confounding me and my camera...I will re-post when I get better light. The saleswoman at the fabric store suggested I email a photo of my fabric pieces to the manager and in turn I will receive a 10% discount on my next purchases...good deal!
This 'Walking the Bible' has been great inspiration for art making....I believe a few more in this series and I will be ready to change directions in a slightly different way. A more abstract view....dealing with mainly the color and textures and therefore the strong feelings attached to desert life as real and as metaphor. I have a list of next methods and I tore apart one of my leather purses so I have truly given myself a challenge!
Happy studio hours!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

"Caravan of Vanities"

10"x12", bleached and overprinted red cotton, four layers of silk and netting, gold metallic embroidery, photo transfer, glass beads.

Caravans have an interesting history. The 'Spice Route' from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel carrying hundreds of pounds of Frankincense on hundreds of camels. The sounds of bells ringing, camels chewing spitting and making whatever other noises they make along with smells of smoke, food and people...would make quite an entrance off the dusty desert sand. Most  caravans carried for trade exotic silks, beads to simple ointments. The photo transfer is just such a jar (NY Metropolitan Museum)of ointment....all of this shopping makes one think of an ancient traveling mall! Most of my fabrics came from my stash but the bottom piece was one of my stamped bleached and overprinted cotton which I'm trying to use in each 'artifact'. I was trying for a look of a colorful tent or a makeshift top on a camels back.

Update: I've changed my preview on my catalog to include all pages. If you would like to view the whole on the sidebar photo!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Desert Wedding Veil

12" x 16" fragment, old curtain, assorted glass beads, silver beads and three large glass turquoise beads, silver metallic embroidery on printed olive shaped leaves, finished with varied shades of fabric paint.

In my book "Walking the Bible" (PBS special), it stated the Pharaohs of Egypt had extensive copper and turquoise mines in the Sinai Desert. This inspired me to consider a few stones stolen out of the mines and onto a desert camel caravan and miles away being traded possibly to a shepherd for wool??! From what I've read this was a colorful time and a bridal veil would have had embroidery as well as beads. I've been composing these pieces on the fly so I'm having such fun with the materials and combining with the dream. I've also ran myself into trouble too but that is just part of art making?! I framed this veil on white with a white metal frame and it holds up nicely. I've gone a few times to the fabric store but most of what I've used has come out of my bottomless fabric and misc boxes. I'm set for the winter and a lot of art making!

I hope everyone is having a great new year. I've been hunting around for a 'word' to carry me through the year and thought I had one several times. I happened upon a blog (india flint) with a post  she titled "Stillness" and I knew right away it was my word for this year. I have "STILLNESS"  taped up on my studio wall and I just know it will remind me how or when to go to my own 'stillness'....a place I'm sure my thoughts and feelings can find a better peace.. Do you have a word that might guide or serve you as a reminder throughout the year?