Monday, July 30, 2012


I did what I said I was going to ...just took the big scissors and cut it into the piece parts. I like all of them separately. Even the backside was interesting.

For now, I'll set them aside until I have some unencumbered brain time. 

We've done a few simple upgrades to the dye deck - a new sheet of vinyl for the working surface, both tables are now level and flush and the replacement tent was brought out of storage.

Today I scored a half dozen interesting silk and linen garments from the Nasty Thrift up the street and a large bundle of double damask tablecloths fell out of the Ebay ether yesterday. I ordered a few replacement colors from Dharma and more soywax...I feel a monumental dyefest coming on!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012


It was a morning for quiet contemplation.

Word came last night that our dear friend Donald passed away after a long illness. He was just here with us in the spring, celebrating life as he always did. Here he is with Jake back in March.

And here, in sweet days gone by, with Peg and Jake again. 


the path

 Jake continues to take boxes of Stuff out of the garage sorting and mostly filling the trash can. I found my first tarot deck, complete with crib notes,  still wrapped in a square of blue silk.

As I walked up the front walkway I shuffled the deck and drew these three cards - past, present and future. I'm good with it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Life of Pi

I couldn't explain the book to people when it first dazzled me. Now this! I can't wait to see it in the theater.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

making ready (part 2)

There's much list making and scampering around going on but everything feels under control. I bought a variety of hanging rods and fixtures yesterday and over the next few days we'll experiment on our own naked walls to see what works best. The business cards should come in today, cross your fingers.

I've gathered up a squad of smallish, unmounted pieces that I am going to attach two a neutral cloth banner which will hang from it's own rod, two or three pieces per banner.

I found several small things that were left unfinished and reminded me, like this one, what I love about what I do. These are pieces of hand dyed silk organdy and cotton gauze stitched over what might be linen.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

working fabrics


 I would love to hear from you if you've purchased any of my cloth burritos but, more importantly,  I want to see what you've done with any of it!  I'd love to put up links or images.

Sometimes when I look at my stacks and rolls of finished cloth and nothing jumps out an smacks me saying "HEY!" it helps to see where they have led others.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

making ready

  I met with the shop owner this morning to make some final decisions about which of the larger pieces would be hung. These in the chair didn't fill the bill,... this time.

I brought all the pieces that she chose from my website and another ten that I thought would work..several that have never been on my website because I never had a chance to get good photographs.  Something I plan to remedy as soon as we can get them up on the walls.

Colin toted the rolled up quilts for me and we carpeted the big room with them..sorry that I didn't take a picture of that.

The riotous array was pretty overwhelming but Candace had no trouble making her choices and ordering them along the walls. This is not something that I would be good at so I was very glad she was ready for us.

I'm particularly happy that she wanted "Front Runner" , "Pirate Circus" and "Giraffe Crossing"  - none of them have ever seen the world outside the studio.

Now that I know what's going up I'll be rounding up the necessary hardware. Starting to get excited.

wrong turn

I made major misstep with this piece by putting a layer of cotton batting under it before machine stitching the larger elements in place.

When I sat down to start some of the hand stitching the first stitch reminded me of the nagging worry that I had pushed back...dreaded bearding. The top cloth was open linen, the batting was old and cotton and the thread partly metallic. A huge tuft of white cotton was pulled through the top along with the black thread. Stop. snip.

I spent the rest of the evening clipping the batting away from the back giving thanks that I had not gotten carried away with the machine stitching and was able to cut almost all of it away.

Every time I catch this piece out of the corner of my eye I think about Karma. Crumpled up in a chair or tossed on the work table, it brings her to memory and mind.

Not that Karma ever let Sweetie get this close but she seems to have an affinity for this piece. The only time she won't get on it is when I hang it on the design wall.

Thank the stars for that  stickybuddy thing.

lazy boro

When I climbed into bed last night I accidentally tore the strap off a favorite old nighty. I was carrying my sewing stuff (which is why I clumsily kneeled on the hem of the nighty in the first place) so I sat there and did a little hasty boro..while I was still wearing it..not bad for upside down and backwards..

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I am in the market for something like a giant's coffin. Something to keep these cloth logs stored in. I've spent the morning ferreting out rolls of quilts from all the various keeping places upstairs. There was a moment of panic when I couldn't find two of the pieces that my host expressed interest in... but they turned up.

 So did a lot of other things that I haven't looked upon in some time. It's quite shocking to me how much better they are in person than mere images flickering on the web. 

This is "Secret Message" laid out for inspection. This piece kindly reminded me what I love about free motion stitching. No matter how many times I've tried to photograph it - the image on my website is actually an experimental composite of two lightings, natural and artificial - which was a whole lot of work and still it does not do the real thing justice. Sure makes a case for professional photography but that's not happening anytime soon.
detail from Secret Message

There were several that never made it to my website at all, excuse unknown - "Giraffe Crossing" which was born down at Focus on Fiber 07 at the ACA in Florida.  I'm taking this one and several others back over to the shop so she can audition them in person. I have about 35 finished pieces most larger than 45" on the short side, a handful closer to 70" on a side.  A whole lot of fabric has been whipped into a frenzy here.

 a side note about tools...I recently took a chance on a  Sticky Buddy (as seen on an obnoxious TV commercial) and guess what? It really works!  I wouldn't try to clean my couch with it but it's great at the studio work table.

I also uncovered a few red-headed stepchildren that never even got named, like this one which really irks me because I spoiled several pieces of  special cloth in a hasty dash to fool with a new technique. This piece is destined for dismemberment and hopefully, rebirth.

back to work

Thursday, July 19, 2012

slip sliding away....

Now that I've implanted that tasty earworm in your head, here's why it's on my mind. I almost let an important event go slip sliding away.

Back in the spring I was invited to have a one person show at a very popular local shop, the Phoenix & Dragon Bookstore in Roswell, GA.  They have a large meeting/classroom and turn the walls over to local artists. My show is set to open on August 3. Now you know what I know...that's right, the scramble is on.

Of course the work is ready to go. I'm meeting with the owner tomorrow to select which pieces she wants to hang or carpet the place with. There will be pictures, eventually.

On my side of the court, I have to order business cards and update my website which has cobwebs on it. The image on the left is going to be the front of the card - a detail from "Stars Out of Place" - and the image below on the back of the card, if I can have my way.

What say ye?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

chaos, ordered up

I spent most of yesterday morning reordering the studio so I can start the machine work on the new piece. Poor Big J hasn't been put through his paces since the last time I had it serviced. The room is a bit cramped but highly functional...warning ..DO NOT open those closet doors!  Order is nice.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

the rush!

Don't know how or why but there's a rush on at the store!
The sale is ongoing, buy one get the next 10$ off . and there's still a nice selection.



Here's what's come of yesterday's work overdyeing and discharging the black and white pieces that turned up gray and green. The surprise of the whole lot? All the way on the left is a small piece of a big piece of cloth that I picked up at OHCO on the weekend.

 I bought it because it was light enough (beige originally) to dye and the jacquard pattern was bold and interesting but once I handled it, it  was so stiff with some upholstery chemical stain protection that I gave up all hope of dyeing and bought it for backing cloth.

 I cut a foot wide strip to use as a stabilizing base under the damasks as I painted them then I noticed it was wicking up the dye gradually.  After dyeing and discharging it has turned out to be so full of character and potential that  I called Jan to stop by the shop and see if the other large piece of it was still there. dumped in a bin like so much trash. $3 a pound.

Monday, July 16, 2012

taking another tack

The beautiful new cloths suffered in  a failed attempt at a neutral black. After batching a whole hot day they were crawling with green blooms. Rather than moan over it  I dreamed a plan that includes overdye and discharging. There are in the colors right now.

There are tons of cloth in the world still waiting and these will be just as special as others I have worked on, not was only the experiment that ran off the rails.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

committing large

This one is all hand basted but last night I dreamed about stitching it on the machine. Successfully combining machine and hand stitching in a large piece is my next great challenge. Arlee is going to be my go-to guru here as she has mastered the trick as far as I'm concerned.

I did some research on how long "Consolation"  took me to finish and at that rate, this new piece might not see an end until next Spring if  I do it all by hand.  No sacrifices or compromises here, just adaptations that will work on larger pieces.

There were great gifts and finds this weekend too. JR and I made a stop at OHCO in Covington and, dumped in a holding pen in the parking lot, I came across a few large expanses of a remarkable cloth that you will be seeing on the design wall, for sure.

When I finally got home there was a package with several of the most exquisite pieces of my all time favorite fabric, vintage cotton damask and what I call huck. Thank you so much Nancy! As soon as the weather dude promises me a hot, dry day, these will be taking part in the great BLACK DYE experiment.  More the the yet undiscovered Karma piece which I am slowly sneaking up on. Clink on these pictures to appreciate the  workmanship that went into them.

loose on the town

This weekend has been all about a good change of pace for me - away from work, the day job and the fiber studio.

These are my two best friends, Jan and Jan. Although I am not an introvert, I tend to be an insular person and I don't get out with like minded individuals so often that I don't recognize how special these times and friends are.

 Jan K has a friend and neighbor who frequently bestows her with Braves season tickets which she shares with me when I can free up my schedule. How could I not in Chipper Jones last season? It was a strange Friday 13th at the park, with all the luck running to amazing and serendipitous. The skies were abrew with heavy thunderstorms but not a drop fell all evening. The entire ballpark was darkened by a 16 minute power failure in the 2nd inning and not a soul in the place went Zombie crazy and acted up. We had great seats, great food and great company in the people who came out on a threatening evening to love on their team, watch them beat the NY Mets  AND the best fireworks I have seen since the bicentennial events in NY!

Saturday I spent the day with my other BF Jan.
We did time together at AT&T..only other former AT&T operators and call center employees could really appreciate that.  This day out will be our last for some time to come since she is taking an amazing opportunity to move to CA and be a part of her son's growing family while he returns to school. Although I will miss her, I can't help but be thrilled for her, she loves the SF Bay area so...and now I will have the ultimate excuse visit the west coast.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


why can't I remember how much better it always is with music? I could hardly nap I was so frothing to get on with this one..changes upon changes.  FYI it's about 42" high.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

B&W in heavy weather

I had a two hour dinner break from work this evening.

The trees are thrashing about under darkening skies and the thunder and lightning are getting very serious. Power will probably go soon. We made up cold salads for dinner and I gobbled mine like a prison inmate and ran outside to get a few more pieces painted. All the while "George Harrison - Living in the Material World" playing in the background.

I scored a beautiful linen dress at GW today - here's one half of the front, the buttonholes ranked down the right side. There was also an enormous cotton lawn skirt..yards of white cloth, thank you Queen among women, and a teeny tiny white party dress..something a hooker might wear to a christening maybe. Halter top, peek a boos around the waist and a short flounced skirt, all in white cotton with tiny dots fuzziness woven all through.

All of them deconstructed and plunged into the sauce for further contemplation and action tomorrow. 

sad to say both of these were spoiled by my haste and optimism. It rained a lot harder than expected and too much water too soon smooshed paint and dye excessively...

Monday, July 09, 2012

thinking along those lines

I'm   starting to think about a Karma cloth.

I wanted more contrast that just dye would give me so I reworked these pieces with textile paint. My bag in the foreground  tells me how hard it's going to be for me to stick with just black and white so I'm not going to force the issue.
Spent a little while last night snapping the fuzz out of the latest batch of dyed cloth. With all those raw, torn edges why am I amazed at the amount of lint generated.  I even made bold with the iron for  while to seek out the true nature of some of the sorrier looking pieces.
Like civilized folk, we even had company for a little while. It was nice to see Jake and Missy.

( I do not put blue dye in my pool)

Sunday, July 08, 2012


I took advantage of the morning light to start the homestretch on Consolation. It's been trimmed, hemmed, fitted and generally civilized yet maintains it's original wildness. For me, being pleased with the journey of a piece is as strong as the satisfaction of finalizing it. I would guess that the proliferation of UFOs comes from when the artist, myself included, loses sight of this core idea, usually by letting the process or the materials take control. It's a constant battle.

I let both of them, process and materials, get the better of sense yesterday by spending several hours out on the dyedeck when it was too damn hot, again. The sky was overcast, in fact there was even a rain shower for a while, but the heat got the best of me and some stupid and ugly things came out of it. I didn't pay attention when a new discharging agent leaked into my left glove and  I reaped a mild chemical burn over most of my palm.  The cloth...a mixed bag of mutts that will need further work, but not today.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

I've started staring at some of the latest pieces from the ongoing dyefest. I thought I'd never see that Bonnie Blue again since it's been discontinued but apparently I've hit on the right blend of who knows what snip of sky and dash of deep blue sea. You'll be seeing a lot more of this color in my work. It pulls me like the sound of the surf.

While I was cleaning the pool this morning (must be in it to do a proper job) I was joined by a hitchhiker who plopped coldly onto my shoulder as I passed by the ladder. I wonder if he was one of the jillions tadpoles that I've rescued from the pool cleanings over the years?

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

a working 4th

My July 4th is probably a bit different than most folks. As a veteran of the phone company and the current employee of another round the clock operation, I'm accustomed to working on most of the major holidays. So it will be today. I will hear the local fireworks and give thanks for the drenching rain we had yesterday but keep my fingers crossed that some yahoo won't set fire to the neighborhood with illegal fireworks.

Knowing that the shank of the day would be taken up listening to people lie, complain, and whine, I officially set down the burden of judgement and started my day with a little creativity by rebooting my dye palette. I did a few direct dye painted pieces and left them in sun to bake.

They are all sparkly and intense while wet but don't get too excited. Experience has taught me that this method of applying dye results in weak, washed out colors. It's OK though cause I have a PLAN. It's all about the lines and shapes much more than the colors or lack thereof. Look, even the Table-moppers are having a good time.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

July's crown

Thanks to number one son for capturing this for me. I took the cards outside for a blessing last night but didn't bother with the camera. I'm glad he was paying attention.  While I was grilling dinner this morning I broke my own vow and put a few more pieces into the dyes. Some rank scraps that needed over-dyeing, a piece of some stripey weirdness that Jake got for me at yard sale while we were in NY and a quarter of a spectacular damask tablecloth that arrived yesterday - the kind I love with the tiny dots all woven through.
 They shall stew under tonight's full moon. And now to swim until I prune.

Monday, July 02, 2012

dye day wrap up

When I took the new pieces out of the dryer this morning they seemed to be infested with LINT, as if I washed a tissue or two along with them only I know that's not the case. So I took everything out onto the upper deck to give it all a good snapping shake creating a snowstorm of fuzz. Happily they gave up the fuzz to a little vigor. Then I spent a quick half hour ironing this unruly lot.

 Compared to the shimmering delicacy of damask, this varying weights of linens are very masculine by comparison. Tough cloths, every one of them. A fiber gang. I'm glad the colors stayed as strong as I wanted for this first round.
I'm going to suspend further attempts on the dyedeck until this brutal weather backs off. I find myself skipping steps and forgetting what comes next. The pleasure in the doing is just not there under these extreme conditions.

For a few minutes the trees tossed and moaned last night and I hoped for a thunderstorm but nothing materialized.

I'm going to hunker down in the AC of the studio, think about what is next, work with what is already at hand and attend to a few administrative tasks I have been putting off, like ordering new business cards and redoing the website.

Little stuff, you know, like the Augean stables....

I've also decide to extend the sale in the store and will be adding some of these Tough Guys into the mix.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

poached linen and birthday festivities

Not the best picture but I like the way it lights up the room. One of my favorites from yesterday's foray into hot folly - trying to conduct a dyefest out on the deck like it was any other day off. Even though it is covered by a canopy, ( I call it the Burn Dyedeck for a good reason) yesterday (and today) was ridiculous at 104 degrees by noon. I really should have anticipated that soy wax would not behave in it's normal, docile and predictable fashion and that some colors would strike harder and faster while other would purely wilt as did yours truly. Even after a spell in the pool I was wiped out from heat. poached and not fit for much the rest of the day.

So no more day-long frenzys, going forward. I'll set up a few pieces in the early morning cool, leave them out to stew for the day and start all over again the next morning. I've converted a large cooler to a soda ash holding pot and there's plenty of white goods now with more coming in daily. Have to learn to pace myself.

And even further proof of my poached brains, I neglected to post in celebration of Colin's birthday. Jim went to great lengths to find a Carvel Cookiepuss ice-cream cake, and we gobbled it before it could melt. Mmmm... Ice cream cake for dinner.  Here's the birthday boy, my artistic accomplice.