Saturday, May 29, 2010

treasures it was my birthday! All these goodies were waiting for me when I got home from work last night!  Shiva paint sticks, D'Uva Watercolor, Tsukineko inks,  Colorhue dyes, ProChem dyes - the first three I have never used. Not shown here - yards of fabulous PFD cloth - Pimatex cotton, silk organza, habitoi silk, sueded silk crepe du chine..all luxury fabrics for me. I spent the evening just reading instructions!

but today I took advantage of a few sunny hours between threatening clouds to continue painting on this piece. Coming into the home stretch now.
I already have notion of an new banner done in silks.    

Thanks again, A!

Friday, May 28, 2010

happy holiday

Standing in the driveway at midnight with no manual is not the time to learn about taking pictures of the moon.Still, we point, shoot, fiddle with dials in the dark and hope. If the clear skies hold, I'll try the tripod tonight. This weekend? Family, Sleep, Reading, Music, Baseball, cooking, swimming, art and I won't be leaving the property! 

ps. I keep trying to forget that a box of Art Sparks should be delivered today. I have no idea what's in it. Something new and wonderful from St. Anne's best Emissary!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

travel for the non-traveler

 On reflection about being webless, one of the things I missed was "traveling".  My life is quite circumscribed by my daily duties - the 13 mile drive to work is fraught with  tedium. I allow an hour to get there in the afternoon because of the lunacy of the local traffic,  but the homebound trip spins by in twenty minutes 'round midnight when I get off and where the big excitement will be watching or participating in a police stop.
Ah, the blue lights!

Often, I'll get home on a friday night and my car won't stir until monday afternoon.  I travel by mouse, far and wide. I know it's not the same but it will have to do.
Here are some regular stamps on my imaginary passport:

Dartmoor, UK ,
Edinburgh, Scotland and
Dartmoor, UK (again I've just discovered)
Spain among many others.

Monday, May 24, 2010

in touch locally

So what did we do with no internet, no landline and no cable TV since last week sometime?

More of many things that have been neglected for too much instant and effortless gratification! Big
revisions about all of this for me.

We piddled about in the studio rescuing many tiny scraps bound for oblivion. They are in the process of "Becoming" to quote Hannibal Lechter but I get the distinct impression that Sweetie has a low opinion of the whole exercise.

The painting on this one has resumed thanks to two consecutive days of glorious weather.  I hope you have all had the experience of resuming work on an old piece that fell short and found a way to make the thing come alive in wonderful and unexpected ways.

After I finish with this one I'm going to take up painting murals on airport runways driving a striping truck!

I was recently captivated by a rebroadcast of an old documentary on PBS about the making of the Cirque du Soleil show LOVE.  I never had a craving to visit Las Vegas - too much desperation in the air - but I'd go just to see this show.
Do you think the colors seeped into my psyche? Nah, they've always been there.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I'm real happy with the way this one is wrapping up. The machine stitching is just what it was wanting but now I'm torn about the final orientation of the piece. This happens to me a lot. Is it arrogant to think that if a piece is successful, design-wise that it should be as good no matter what the final orientation is?

On the left is where I started. I only named this non representational  piece "Demon" because that piece of black damask was a pure pill to nail down and maintain it's originally intended shape.

Now look..there's a serpent under a tree full of fireflies.

photographing black

Black damask  and black cats are impossible to photograph an get what the eye sees. Today I got lucky twice!

Lucky to even get close enough to Jake's cat Juicy who is extremely wary and elusive (he lives inside a couch downstairs).

He's been venturing  upstairs in the morning to meet our cats but he's never been outdoors so has to be kept from the cat door. I'm sure he's part, if not all, Maine Coon cat. Those are six inch tiles on the floor to give some scale.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

back to the machine

Now that my sewing table is uncovered...
Nah, that's not why I decide to go back to machine stitching. This piece threw up the "STOP STITCHING" sign very early. Twice I did some hand work only to pick it all out. But it was still wanting and machine work seem to be the ticket, not to mention getting things done pdq.

While I was rooting around looking for a new needle for the machine I came across this little beaded bag that I made years ago back in some obsessive compulsive frenzy.  Just about I-phone size but it must weigh half a pound!

Pages Update

I've created a whole separate blog called
"Random Acts of Dyeness to showcase my hand dyed,painted and discharged cloth. I cannot justify another dye session without getting some of this fun out in to the world!  And if you do buy something please let me know what you make from it. It would be so much fun to share what other artists make from my raw materials.

Instead of selling single pieces, I've decided to put together groupings of fabric that play well together reasoning that this works better for the many artists who work in small formats.
One of these bundles goes a long way.

I 've posted titles from Archer (gone to Arlee) through Zenobia (just posted today) and won't be making any new groups for at least a  week. Once a week is enough already, but my studio is still knee deep in cloth. But of course you know I've kept the tastiest bits for my own.

Ridiculously cheap, always fabulous (well, sometimes there's the red-head step child that some mother, someplace will adore). Always email me for availability as these groups are all one of a kind and it's always first come first served. As they  are sold and shipped, I'll take them down and before you know it there will be something new and tasty.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Yep, it's still about the stitch. 
The lesson I want to pay close attention to
is stopping before too much unwanted
happens. No stitching just for the
sake of doing it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

happy Saturday

A. You mean like this? 


It's been suggested that I keep this set for myself and nail this particular arrangement in place with stitches. I'm mulling it over. Meanwhile I'm all better except for a bruise in the crook of my right arm that looks like I lost a bull fight. Sparing you pictures here.

Four new tasty  ones posted this morning....

Meanwhile, I'm off to work with high hopes that there will be no slip and falls, choking on oyster crackers, rear end collisions, etc and so on ad infinitum. There's a game on a seven and I have sewing to do.

Friday, May 14, 2010

let's play Operation!

After several weeks of struggle - mucking out the winter debris, finding and buying a replacement pump, we had to invest in a bottle of BLACK turn the pool from deep acid green to this lovely, if cloudy blue.

I am banned from the water for one week -time for the particulate to settle to the bottom - by doctors orders. My day surgery of a girly sort went well but I spent most of the daylight hours sleeping off the anesthesia.  What a waste and a bore. And now we are in for a spell of grisly weather.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

too many choices


Part of my creative trouble in the studio is too many choices - I won't bore you with pictures of total chaos. It's too much input. I can hardly get close enough to the design walls to hang anything up. totally out of control. So yesterday before work I (over)selected some scraps for the travel bag. We've been terribly busy at the office - back to back calls never used to be the norm - but last night there was space and some silence between calls for thought and nonthinking and something new emerged. The fabrics balk at first and then fall into place and offer maturity, import and mystery. All the things I wanted from the work tonight. We'll see how it looks by the light of day.
and once again I'm questioning the stitch.

things to be grateful for:

Homemade Chinese broccoli and chicken is successful.
Butter cream mocha bars are on the weekend wishlist.
The mortgage will get paid, just.
Braves sweep the Brewers in a day game
Karma brings a chipmunk to the deck, full of her old huntress self.
I praise her and the chipmunk makes a break for it while Karma is congratulating herself.
Vin played some incredible sets and the assholes let up long enough for me to listen and think.
Someone in the office is wearing a new and wonderful scent or is it the window cleaning stuff the cleaner guy is spritzing around the office?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

treading water with cloth and stitch

Voodoo's eloquently evil expression asks me why I don't spend more time on something productive like mouse farming or tuna fishing?                         Nothing creative floats up that I can grab onto and run with.    
Mindless stitching is almost as bad a endless games of online scrabble - the minutes slip away and you've  nothing to show for it but cat blankets. Still, for the moment, passing time is what I have to distract me from momentary medical annoyances. Then I read about the real travails of Kate at  Needled and MV at Instant Poetry and I can quickly suck it up and quit bitching about a little achey arthritis or jet engines in my head.                                                            

Right after this shot, he bit me on the arm when I tried to take the cloth back and Voodoo, unlike the girls, does not pull his punches. Thanks buddy. You old grouch.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mahonia Update

Here are some shots of the cloth that I attempted to dye with the Mahonia berries a few days ago.  You knew I would have posted faster if the results were anywhere near exciting.  I am consoled with the notion of dye painting this piece to look like it did when I first unwrapped it all dotted with the crushed berries. Now, That was interesting.

Maybe this coming Sunday if the sun takes part.

Although it's not the best day for taking pictures in the studio, I put together another three sets for Random Acts of Dyeness. 

Sunday, May 09, 2010

(every day is) Mother's Day

I had a lovely Mother's Day - I don't care for a fuss. Every day is Mother's Day when you get your props from your family and I do.

I unwrapped the cloth I stained with the berries and shot a video..prepare to be underwhelmed.  And what a stink! I was glad the camera wasn't running when I rather haphazardly tossed the contents of that container over the deck rail and half of it splashed all over my back.

I spent the afternoon painting on a piece out on the deck while listening to a ballgame. While Jim made a fabulous pork roast dinner, Jake took me out for spin in a car in his custody this weekend. Who in their right minds would pay $100,000 for a way to get from here to there and back?  Granted it's nice ride but, geez.

Tradition takes root

The peonies to the right of the mailbox are from my grandfather's garden where they lived in Armonk. When my folks moved to the suburbs in 1956, Pop brought up some roots from the original bed to plant at the new house.

When we bought our house in in Georgia in '98 I brought some roots back down here with me after a visit home. Traditions take root. 

I've let them run wild up there in the only garden space we have with full sun. Anything that thrives up there lives on neglect and dog piss. Looks like the peonies have liked it well enough to throw off a mutation.  The bigger, pale pink blossoms on the left are new this year spread from the darker ones to the right side of the garden. They even have a slightly different fragrance.  The dogged persistence of Nature always lifts my heart.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

mad scientist time

Remember these?  Thanks to everyone who helped to identify them for me.
Mahonia, the Oregon Grape.

Well, I couldn't resist an experiment involving cloth when I saw that they had ripened to this.

 Go Here for a wordless pictorial

The cloth is a section of that vintage
tablecloth that I have been hoarding.

Now I wonder if the stains will stay. Should I douse the bundle in vinegar or something to set the colors? Until I hear back some wisdom, I'm just going to let it poach in the sun, wrapped in some me if you have a clue.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Random Acts of Dyeness Renovation

I've come to terms with the need for working smaller and have decided that most of the pieces of hand dyed fabrics that I have for sale are probably more than anyone needs. They are more  than I need for sure.

To that end, I'll be overhauling the store -taking down some of the yard sized pieces, cutting them up and putting them together in project sized collections and groupings like this one. 
I've run out of ideas for naming things like this so I'm just going to run the's Archer.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

battle banners

This unfinished piece is so large I have no place to hang it for pictures and here I missed the shade opportunity of shooting from the upper deck by about 10 minutes. I'm planning on a lot surface work with metallic textile paint to bring up all the stitched motifs that are lost from a few feet away. Think medieval, illuminated manuscripts, etc. The commercials for the new Robin Hood with Russell Crowe reminded me that this piece and Front Runner were designed as battle flags.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Store Update

It's time to let go.

I've posted several of the most recent pieces shown here for sale at

Hand Music Fiber Art

If you would like to see more images or have any questions including information about international sales and shipping, please email me.

Monday, May 03, 2010


By my mason jars on the deck we had about 4 inches of rain overnight. Enough to top off the pool and later today Jim will run the new pump for the first time now that the water level is where it needs to be. The frogs are so happy that we are not using the pool yet that they were up screaming about it all night long. With that and the thunder and lightning, sleep was scarce. 

Sunday, May 02, 2010


getting his bearings

For those of you who are following the Bear restoration, he can see where he's going now and his inner eye is on the game as well.  Mere buttons would not do here. A nice no-nonsense nose seemed in order. I'm still thinking about how I want the mouth to look but I have to get some new stuffing first and get him back to being 3D before any grinning or dental work is started.


I'm done stitching on this one - the base was starting to deform. I love working with the dyed silk.

It reminded me that I had a whole series of 3D pieces that evolved just so I could wrap them with a variety of transparent fabrics including a rainbow of sheer poly and some cotton lawn all stitched over stuffed damask "heart, livers and other uniformed body parts" .  More of this here
and here. I'm thinking of rounding these up and making them available.
Boy, do they take up a lot of space!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

stitching silks

Here's a game's worth of stitching (minus a two inning nap) with some of the scraps of silk that I dyed earlier this morning. I've always been drawn to the possibilities of transparency no matter the medium. It can spell trouble for me, too many possibilities that is - like having the really huge box of crayons used to trouble me. I always felt like I had to use them all.

I held the line at just three colors of silk for this little sample which was supposed to be about getting used to handling and stitching silk and silk gauze.
Lesson one...I need a manicure - I keep snagging the gauze with my leathery finger tip!

silk experiments

This was a lot easier than coloring Easter eggs only no vinegar and no boiling water and no egg salad later.

It looks like like an extravaganza but these are little tiny shreds most no bigger than your palm. Replacement butterfly wings. I have to keep a watch or they will be blown away as soon as they are dry! Also need to go find the directions for the next step but I don't think there are any.

studio day?

Chores done, and a ballgame to look forward to this afternoon, if the rain holds off and IF I can stand to watch. The Braves lost an unprecedented 9 games in a row and the win last night almost felt like a fluke. It's been a horrorshow.

I'm going to see what happens in the studio this morning.  I can't wait to see how the new dyes work with the silks that came with them. As you can see, it works really well on hair.

The red bangs washed out just a bit to dark pink but my hair is tough as wire and doesn't hang on to anything for long. This gives a whole new thought to the Blue Haired Ladies.

The bear restoration process goes on, if slowly. I could go really outrageous of course but I don't think I want to stray too far from the innocence of the thing, pink as it as to it's soul.

The third eye was a given. Now to make the other two eyes different but compelling in their own way.