Sunday, June 26, 2016

Hurry up and flounder

Sunday morning is prime creative time for me, but today I checked the calendar and realized I have about three weeks to finish and ship a quilt so, no writing today.

Colors and cloth were already chosen but I had to ditch the original plan that included a lot of hand appliqué and substitute a technique I used once a long time ago. Pretty straightforward as machine sewing goes, but when I sat down at the Janome I discovered that I was suffering from a combination of Shriveled Skills and residual deficits from the NOT stroke or some other dire diagnosis that had me in the hospital for a week exactly a year ago. 

My left hand is clumsy and not steady and I had to slow down to avoid stitching my fingers together. Not good with a white base cloth.

We won't talk about the machine needing a good cleaning, oiling and new needle – things that were new project standards in the past. I had to think hard about how to use the bobbin winder, thread the thing, and when it did glitch (of course it did) when I looked into the bobbin nest I didn't recognize it and kept visualizing the innards of my long gone Kenmore. 

All in all, a disturbing few hours but, I won't give up on the machine if this project turns out the way I hope it will.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

wandering scraps

On my last run to the post office to ship off a fat baggy, I couldn't cram it all into the envelope.

I brought them back in the house and they'll get included in the next shipment!

On and on

I bought these flowers on June 4th. I'm beginning to think that stuff in the little packets they give away with the flowers might be either the key to eternal life or the cause of zombies.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

discipline... what it takes, something I have never been awash in. Still, it's never too late to change.

I've started committing my best hours -between wakeup and tennish- writing. I have a not quite first draft that's leprous with issues and has never been seen by a beta reader and I cannot waste one more of those precious minutes on anything that doesn't matter as much to me. November will be on us before we know it.

Sometimes I long for the mindless hours I spent on cloth. Not really mindless, just a completely different place in the brain at the helm. An autopilot who had a great sense of color, was a fair hand at design and technique and had all the confidence in the world that what she was doing would turn out okay, sometimes even great.

Deep in the stash closet, I came across a batch of old school cottons. I think it's the last of the Thompson muslin that I rescued from a wholesaler who pushed  bolts of cloth around with a small bulldozer on the concrete floor of a musty warehouse. It might be the last cloth that company made with American-grown cotton.

Anyway,  I can see I was intent on getting as much dye into the cloth as possible. It has a wonderful hand and I'm looking forward to all the hand applique I have planned even though the deadline for this project is about a month away. Family obligations are the best kind.

Charlie moving all his worldly goods into the playhouse. Moments later, everything was transferred back to the crib. (Repeat cycle four times before lunch.)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

blue sunday

We gathered close and celebrated Jim's birthday today. Just Jake tinkering on his car and Colin in the kitchen making chili and a mess. Me, out in the yard being Nana.

Charlie continues to be my soul salvation.

I have a lot of thoughts about the sad turn of events in our country, but I need to push it all away as far as I can. It's making my heart sick on a day when it's already aching.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

40 years

Despite what I said here, I doubt that we would have done anything different on our fortieth anniversary that we did on the vast majority of all the others. Stay at home, make a meal together, trade cards, flowers and perhaps small gifts.

Jimmy might have played DJ while I worked in the kitchen unless he made chili, then I would have sat and stitched.

 We might have taken a dip in the pool, weather permitting. Then a shared movie and reminiscing over a meal. All of life's simple pleasures in one day, special only because of the date on the calendar. They were all special. I did my best alone today.

I got a great deal on some just marked down sunflowers and roses. And I couldn't resist a little Charlie chair to match mine.
and the mail man brought treats too.

Friday, June 03, 2016


I spend Thursdays and Fridays with Charlie. The best days of my week. There is nothing else to do but watch and participate if I can. It's what I did when Jake and Colin were this age. Be present.

Watching him discover things for the first time is so delightful. The public pool where he lives is big and crowded so we cooled off on the patio this morning.

What gets him laughing? The slapping sounds our feet make in puddles on the concrete. The wet squeaking squirts from the little rubber ducks.  A wren perched on the railing a moment to see what we were up to. Charlie held out a cup of water with a hopeful look on his face. Life is good.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016


That other banner got annoying very quickly. I'm glad I save the old ones.

Saturday, May 28, 2016


You can clearly see the difference between the wet and dry cloth when you look at the header. Me? I like loud. I know others, not so much. So, there's something here for everyone.

This latest batch makes me wish I could take a two-week vacation from the day-job (what doesn't?) so I could work out this thread of hue, tone and texture, but I'm well aware of the serendipitous nature of my process.

I'm inclined to want stronger, louder colors so you know where the next batch is  headed, whenever that gets to happen. MORE COWBELL!

 I've taken a few for myself. Another small group has been assigned for further development. The rest will be for sale, either in whole pieces or in small parts as part of the ongoing Fat Baggy campaign.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Stars so far

this group is turning out to be very special. Only a few decanted so far. The rest will hatch out later today. I'm going to be taking reprographs of some of these before they get used or sold. Also, thinking about selling some whole. Much more later.

They are all in the washing machine right feels like Christmas eve.
I expect a loss of intensity, but I'm one of the few artists I know that will use colors as intense and rowdy as the one in my header above.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

quick & dirty

We all know about wet pictures. Still....

This one is staying with me even if it loses a step after the wash, which I don't think it will. This is that Irish double damask, 42x36 give or take a bit. I think this is going to be my personal Freak Flag!

lying in wait

And wait they will. I'm so done now and won't have time to open these bundles until. Late Friday or Saturday. We chill and poach.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

the Haul

It's finally coming 'round to hot enough for dyeing here in Georgia after a long spell of wet and chilly. I went to Goodwill this morning to drop off a set of frilly curtains that I've been saddled with for a while. Never went inside! Such willpower. Then I saw the 20% everything sign on the antique/consignment depot that's right next door.

There WILL be a new dye session tomorrow and it's gonna be HOT!

Buggy Oatmeal, Soggy Cheerios and Rice of Questionable Age will be shouldering the color. I'll remix and recalibrate the colors away from the previous sessions. The recipients of all this glory?  A half ACRE of premium, heavy-weight muslin from India, complete with yards of cotton stitched eyelet lace and another acre of superb double damask from Ireland. The latter has been professionally laundered and ironed to death, poor thing. I can barely make out the pattern but the cloth is rich and thick and will drink up the color.

Friday, May 20, 2016

no chimes

I took a fat handful of cloth from my private stash in the river basket late Wednesday night without really looking at the contents. Stuffed everything in a gallon Ziploc bag and took it with me to spend the day with Charlie.

No needles, pins or threads. Just planned on looking. We sat on the floor in the sunlight and dumped the baggie out onto the carpet.

He was happy to help. He folds. Sort of.

I remain uninspired. Tomorrow, early I'll empty the bag back into the river basket in the studios morning light. See if anything speaks up.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Got cloth?

freckles, speckles, splashes, soy resists and so much more..this is the stash that I'm picking fat baggies from and there are two other baskets not in the shot!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Charlie Monday

 I had mixed feelings about this picture, but there's  just no denying that Charlie will be using technology in ways we never dreamed of.

He's so good at it too. The ease and accuracy when he pecks and swipes at the screen is eerie. We've agreed to limit his e-time and I've come up with the sneaky trick of letting him use my tablet only when I know the battery is about 15% or less. When the low battery message pops up he says "Uh-oh!" and when it shuts down he knows that the tablet is tired and has to take a nap. No fuss, no crying.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

hot stuff

There's a double armload of cloth from the most recent dye-fest in my stitching chair. You can open this image in another table to see the variety of textures underlying all those freckles. Some of those troublesome batiks are there too, now that I've made them presentable to the public

I've picked what I wanted, and a few other pieces have gone off to other artist's studios.

The rest will get churned into the blend over at Random Acts of Dyeness. If you want a bundle that is ONLY freckles and batiks, let me know asap. There's not a ton to go around.

PS - Arlee. The black bits have to qualify as failed. The blue-gray you see here was as strong as they stayed. Dye age? Perhaps. Operator error? More likely.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Inspirational 10

I am so honored to be included in this special issue celebrating the amazing online resource,   John Hopper's Textile Blog

My association with John reaches back to an article he wrote about my work back in  2009 after accidentally finding it online. Seems like I started something for him that's taken on a grand life of its own.

When he asked me to participate I threw a slew of images at him and he chose my four secret favorites. The man has a magical eye.

"Just to let you know that Inspirational 10 is now on sale. This issue is a little different from the other Inspirationals as I have taken the opportunity of celebrating 8 years of The Textile Blog. In that 8 years, I have been able to feature a whole range of contemporary artists, and I thought that it would be a great idea to be able to revisit them through the context of Inspirational. Therefore, 45 artists have been brought together for Inspirational 10, all showing a selection of new work, as well as a summary of where they are presently on their creative path. Not much writing from me in this issue, apart from an introductory, I have left the artists and their work to speak for themselves."

The names of those other artists dazzle and humble me.

Lisa Hochstein, Valerie Goodwin, Cathy Kleeman, Peggy Brown, Nelda Warkentin, Cynthia Corbin, Carol Taylor, Altoon Sultan, Gerrie Congdon, Pat Dolan, Denise Linet, Helene Davis, Pat Pauly, Deborah Gregory, Ellin Larimer, Wen Redmond, Terry Jarrard-Dimond, Brenda Smith, Domine Nash, Linda McCurry, Erin Wilson, Nancy Clearwater Herman, Diane Savona, India Flint, Rayna Gillman, Jette Clover, Marlene Cohen, Judith Plotner, Karen Stiehl Osborn, Jeanne Raffer Beck, Clare Plug, Andrea Vail, Mitchell Manuel, Stanley Bulbach, Martin Ebrey, Kirsty Wallace, Anthony Stevens, Dennis Potter, Barbara Tomecak, Mary Mazziotti, David Lasry, Roxanne Lasky, Giulia Gazza, Jennifer Gaye

Monday, May 09, 2016

Charlie Monday 5.9.16

For a lot of reasons, I've decided to stop posting Charlie Monday to FB. It's really stinking up the internet these days, so I'm bringing it all back home here.

Charlie was happy to participate in my impromptu game of pick-up sticks, but the question in his eyes was, "If I'm not supposed to put these in my mouth, nose or ears, why?"

These were taken the day before Jake and Colin accidentally killed a large copperhead not fifty feet away from this spot. There's a good reason that I always walk around with my eyes to the ground.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Mother's Day

Me and my Mom. I was the first of a swarm so there are very few pictures of just the two of us.

As I looked through my own extensive collection of photographs I wondered why there were so few pictures of me with my own when they were babies. Everyone else had them it seemed.

Then I remembered what every nursing mother knows. You are wearing the kid like a corsage for most of your waking (what sleeping?) hours so when someone else shows up you say, "Here. Hold this for a minute." and you take the pictures.

1980 with Colin

1986 with Jake

some early returns.

Couldn't resist some early returns. On the left, a dry damask napkin. Center, a woven cotton sleeve still wet. On the right, some very kinky, fluffy cotton gauze also dry.  Below, detail from the center piece. I think the black will stay strong even when it dries. It's that kind of cotton. Grabby.

Mother's day on the burning dye deck

It's hot and breezy and we're in high gear here at the Lawrenceville Frankenstein Dyeworx.

It's texture time so the buggy oatmeal was dug out from the depths of the pantry and the Magik is underway.

There were cottons, linens, silks and damasks in the sauce after the great dismemberment (several skirts, blouses, and coats work taken apart rather roughly) .

Alas, the day job beckons and a nap is a must so the great reveal will have to wait until tomorrow. All this stuff can just poach out here without my help.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016


Looking around the studio, I realize that's what I've been doing by not finishing, marketing or advertising these pieces. I've been over-invested emotionally in the whole black and white series and just don't want to really let go.

This little one, Karma VI,  in particular, the last of the series. Looking at it here, I'm convinced I want to change the orientation by one turn to the left. There's no sleeve on it yet, so no big  deal.

It's unfinished for the same reason I'm having trouble facing up to the last chapters of my book.  I just don't want this part, the making part, the fun and rewarding part, of the work to be over.  That's going to have to change and soon.

            I'm hoarding a lot of things that I'll have to set free.


I've been so inspired lately by seeing what amazing things other artists are doing with my cloth, I've added a page over here so everyone else can see what's possible. Humbled, I am.

If you've used my cloth in your art and want to be listed, email me with the linkage you'd like and pictures even!