Monday, December 31, 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

close comfort

The last of the posse was just too eclectic to join forces with any of the others. All on it's own, it's acquired a little color and, as time passes, a lot of hand stitching.

So all told, in the B&W series ( the Karmas) there are two fairly large pieces, one with a mix of machine and hand stitches, the other strictly machined, and two small pieces; one hand and machine and this one,  only hand stitching. I have a feeling that I'll be setting up an entire segment of the cloth closet strictly for the B&W. I love the drama!

There's a disturbance in my personal force right now; both my brother and my dad are in the hospital and my baby sister is sick..everyone with varying forms of flu-ish things.  Here I am dispensing old wives wisdom over the phone and clutching at my cloth 800 miles away.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

good studio day

Got this one oriented to my liking and stripped off a lot of "fluff" including half a dozen snitches of color that I added just because they were snaking around in the basket at my feet.
Glad that I pulled back from that cliff before I ran off it. I won't say I'm starved for color yet, just appreciating it more in smaller doses.

There will be very little hand stitching in this one. There are extra layers of fleece underneath in places where I want the machine stitching to carve the cloth.
This is the largest one so far, maybe 40 inches on a side.  More tomorrow.

Friday, December 28, 2012

very happy friday

Things are really hopping in the studio right now and I am SO GLAD  this work week is nearly over. All of the B&Ws are clamoring for attention at the same time.

My day job entails listening to  never-ending of tales of woe, stupidity and venality and it gets so tedious after a while that I get giddy and long to tell some of these people which train goes straight to hell and where they can get free tickets! I do remain grateful to have ANY job, but this weekend I will only be an artist.

Don't forget the full moon's promise tonight!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

morning cloth herding

Late last night I started trying to get some of other members of the gang to work together but it wasn't happening, mostly because I was insisting that this one, the original B&W, be one of the players and he wasn't having any of it. So I took it up alone this morning to see where it could go.

The black linen background is just too strong to try and incorporate with the others which are grounded mostly on a softer black damask.

Color is creeping in and I'm glad.  It seems that  nothing is totally  black & white. Nothing satisfying anyway.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

banish the wintertime blues

All that's needed is a Braves game on the radio, some cherries and the Sunday NY times.

home made!

Ok,  haste made for hilarity!

 Here's the chef and his custom made apron (and evil assistant) now that the pocket has been  sewn back on the FRONT of the apron (below the J)  instead of the back where it was when he first opened my gift.  There was much jesting about what he might stash in the pocket in it's former position.

And speaking of home made, a new Lacativa joined the tribe on Christmas day. Landon Vincent Lacativa is Jim's brother's first grandchild. Mazel Tov to the families!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

Yesterday was given over to baking, some for us, some for neighbors. I have to call over there and check on the survivors. Although I make a stellar apple pie, this was my first ever made-from-scratch crust, recipe courtesy of Joe over at man handled threads.

Today, everything is wrapped, there was a little pre-lasagna prep work and now, time for a little hand stitching. Merry Christmas everyone.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Karma 1

Karma 1"    2012    27x36

I didn't have anything to say about this one right away because I was quite taken by surprise when it threw up the checked flag and said “stop..done, finished” and for once, I listened. 

 There is some hand stitching planned that won't really be noted from a few steps away because I intend on matching the thread to the cloth and keeping the stitching low key. It will be faced unobtrusively and I will honor the irregular edges rather than crop the off. It will be nice to have this to occupy the few spare moments I'll have over the next few days. 

The next one in this series is pieces in the closet and will have to wait a few days for the holiday festivities to subside before I start anything new.
I want to be able to give it full focus.
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Friday, December 21, 2012

Still shopping? Me too.

Still Christmas shopping? Yeah, me too. I wish it was this easy for me but the family members still on my list don't know which end of the needle to thread; they leave that stuff to me. But if you need a gift for a textile or mixed media artist, I have just the thing!  Come see....  and don't forget to be good to yourself too! Happy Holidays.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

B&W Reset

After spending several long sessions of shuffling these pieces around on the bed it began to dawn on me that this method what not going anywhere happy.

Each one is a composition all it's own - I could hardly find two that could work next to one another..just no way to go about designing a cohesive piece. So rather than scrap the whole project I'm going to go back to considering them one at  a time - instant series.

Karma did B&W with such flair, colors paled beside her.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

in the Spirit

I left the house before sun-up this morning to spend time in the dentist's chair. After a little Christmas shopping I came home to this delight.  It's good to be the Queen.
Thank you my darlings.

Meanwhile, upstairs, the rest of the subjects ran amok in total disregard of my authority.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

the posse

Here we have the cast of characters that we will become intimately acquainted with in weeks to them, hate them, turn them inside out.. this is the bunch I'm rolling with.
There's more of that deep black linen and an expanse of
snowy double napped
 flannel .
I feel a novel coming on.

Monday, December 17, 2012

back in black & white

It's back to the B&W for me. I've stopped all hand work, saving the trixie and precious for later once the ground work falls (or is bulldozed) into place.

There are two more new elements on the design wall this morning and two more are in the process stage. It's getting pretty big, six feet long, so I may be finding the limits.

There will be much more  cutting, swapping and scrapping ahead. There are only two passages here that I am solid with..and, yes, I see that the gator head is back in the picture.

My black velvet wrap in the closet may be pressed into service.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

what she wrought...

How's this for spectacular?
 Serena described it like this-
"Grandmother's Fan pattern hand drafted and set in  the Love Rings Orientation. Entirely hand pieced. White Fan pieces all  from my great, great grandmother's (Mary Katherine Ferguson's) linen napkins. Hand dyed blade fabric all hand dyed vintage linens from fiber artist Deb Lacativa...creams all 100% cotton either Kona, broadcloth solid, or shot cotton."

I'm honored and terrified that something so precious has been constructed from cloth that has already lived it's life, been discarded and then resurrected with color. But then I have seen and held one of her finished quilts all hand quilted ..old school all the way. I know it will be spectacular someday!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

holiday prep

I was predictably unhappy with the holiday stamps this year, again. I should stop complaining and submit my own designs but lord only knows what hoops the government puts artists through!
 That being said, I decided it was time to stop hoarding the postage stamps I've been hanging on to all these years. Buying whole sheets of new issues is a habit I picked up from my mother but I have been very discriminating about what stamps I purchased. Rosalie had a long career in the Post Office and always purchased full sheets of whatever new issues for her "collection" but I think when you stuff things in various drawers and boxes after acquiring it,  it is really called "a hoard". I have no idea what became of all her stamps, probably still in a box in someones attic. I've decided to put mine to work on envelopes to people who will appreciate the gorgeousness.  You know who you are.

I also found where I put the boxes of lovely Christmas cards that I bought so cheaply the week after the holidays last year but one of the older boxes was filled with pictures. That's a typical hoard in my house; boxes and envelopes of prints are everywhere.

Here's Rosie visiting with us not long after we first put in the pool in '98. She loved nothing better than hanging out in the sun at any pool or beach she could find. Her signature scent: Hawaiian Tropic.
Mom reveled in Christmas and now that she's gone there is a hollowness to the holidays.

Also in the same box, a shot of agriculture workers at harvest time in, COLORADO...Yeah. That's were they were, Colorado. Or was it Washington??

Friday, December 14, 2012

B&W ch.3

This is going to take a lot more time and study. There are four independent elements here just pinned together. And to think I was going to make another four or five before beginning this dance!!
I am not feeling what I was looking for when I first set out. It's always a matter of scale.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cephalopod 1 finished

Cephalopod 1

That thread I was waiting on came late yesterday afternoon. This morning I finishing the machine quilting on the background and a bit more inside the body.

Although I have it on the design wall horizontally, at 60"x 30"  I like this orientation best.

Next sunny crisp day we have I'll get this one outside and get some better pictures.

If anyone is interested, the base cloth was an expanse of flour sacking that I was able to track back to sometime in the first quarter of the last century, Brooklyn, CT. The burgundy damask was a section of tablecloth from SS Columbia c.1920.

$2700.00 includes shipping and custom hanging bar. email me for availability.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

BW continues

I started another one this morning and for a second though about the "quilt as you go" technique where smaller units are completed and then joined. As you can see by the discrepancy in size, that's not the road I'm going down here, but that first test piece turned out so tasty, there's no way I can't include it in the main even especially since I have a good bit more of that velvety black linen to work with. Still waiting on that thread from Superior....

Monday, December 10, 2012

B&W test finished

So, will the next piece have a black ground with white elements or a white ground  with black elements?  but really, how to avoid making the choice at all?

back to the design wall maybe tomorrow.  Studio time for today is over.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

taking b&w chances

Here's my little B&W test flight.  I think of stitching, either hand or machine, in two classes; construction stitches or decorative stitches. I'm working on ways of combining the two. Of course, there are no absolutes so there will be glimmers and edges of color throughout the series. My task will be to stay my mad color hand and keep those splashes small and unobtrusive. Even this golden smile is more than I wanted on a piece that's little more than a foot across but I couldn't bring myself to cut it even smaller.

I had even greater black and white inspiration yesterday. This 1950 Chevy was parked outside the grocery store. Stupefied by it's massive glory, I took pictures all the way around and hung around outside to meet it's owner. The laminated original bill of sale was hung in the rear window. $1402.00 plus 24.96 for the white walls. It has only 30K original miles and I told him that when he was through with it to give me a call but since the name on the bill of sale was a close female relative of his, I don't think he's going to be parting with it any time soon.

On of my first cars was a used '53 Chevy and there is nothing like piloting one of these cars in today's driving experience.

Friday, December 07, 2012

all the colors of karma

Unfurling the cephalopod  and spending time with that great black and whiteness in my peripheral vision has reminded me that I have been waiting to make something using only black and white fabrics. It started with the excitement and spontaneity of "Los Dados Encantada" and, of course, circles around to my dear lost friend Karma.

I've been gathering up various types of cloth for a while; the blackest blacks and the whitest whites and the blurry almosts in between. There were a LOT of failed dye adventures over the summer so this morning I rounded up a batch of those gray/green/muddy wretches, brewed up a serious black, and had a successful kitchen sink mini dyefest. The waste was scandalous!

I'm starting small - there are a few things I want to try by way of hand stitching - and I won't know what the design will be like until I start putting things on the wall tomorrow.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

the cephalopod shuffles

Cleaned and oiled the machine; new needle all tested and tight and LO, comes Bloody Murphy and his law. Chuckling bugger.

After checking though half a dozen almost appropriate candidates for top thread, the color I finally chose ran out 20 minutes into the morning.

I've been agonizing over how and how much I wanted to stitch in the background gold and after dreaming it done (and quickly sketching it) I'll have to wait a few more days for that thread to be delivered and get on with it. Something Other, something Big and B&W is in the works but studio time is over for the to the whine mines.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


And me with no stuffing in the cupboard! Off to Ho-Anns...I just remembered that there's a 20% discount today for having lived so long and still be fooling with fiber.

more later..

Now to cobble together a tail. He's got sass.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

regaining footing

I've been feeling like home-made shit lately so I thought I'd start the day right by getting on with this WIP. It's going to have more machine quilting but I wanted to get a proper back on it and found the perfect thing in the closet, where all of the perfect things lurk. This piece is going to figure prominently on the website makes a real splash I think.

Later we went to Goodwill to see what was new and cheap. I grabbed up this cotton sweater for half price and will be experimenting with hacking it into bunnies or something with legs and ears and this very cool lunch box which never saw a sandwich, cookie or carrot stick and is now stuffed with trimmings from my lavender  bush and stinking up the joint wickedly. Feeling better already.

Monday, December 03, 2012


These two kindergarten quilts are now packed and will be on their way to NY in a hour or so as soon as the mobs at the PO die down.

 I heard that Martha Stewart put in an appearance at the show in Katonah on Saturday. I wonder what she would think about me dismembering a brand new top sheet from her best quality line (the white cloth) to make these two pieces? It's wonderful stuff, a micro fine twill is the best way I can describe it; super soft and weightier than sheets usually are. There's quite a bit more of it destined for the dyepot. And thanks to Melody for reminding me that I can dye indoors in the winter, I'll just have to pop my baggies into the warmed up oven.

Here are a few more pieces that went in the box on the way to several venues in the  Westchester/Fairfield vicinity over the next few weeks. Details when I know more.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

A good day at the market..

I've just heard that "The Devil Helps Punch & Judy Get Serious" has been sold.

 Nice to know there are folk out there buying art that's not all hearts, flowers and kittens. I've got lots more dark twists in the cupboard.

Friday, November 30, 2012

are we Modern enough yet?

When I first saw "modern" quilting trending and making a splash I thought "so that's what I've been up to all this time" (since I chucked the notion of following a traditional pattern)

I have a feeling that if I dig back through the blog posts, I may not even find any references to this one. It was folded up in the very bottom of a bin and a pure pain to iron. I do recall that I stopped working on it because I ran out of black/dark cloth from a long ago foray to  MaryJos .

I hoarded scraps of those Timeless Treasures shells to the smallest shreds that you see here.

this one will be quilted over the weekend. Let's hope it holds up to the wash and dry in it's old age!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

a little respite

I finally got around to covering up the schmutz that Jimmy got on the chest of this hoody the first day he wore it (and then wouldn't wear it again for the same reason) . I inherited it and always went around looking like I couldn't eat without a bib. It was a nasty slash of orange construction compound of some kind that was totally impervious to all attempts to remove it.

And this morning I'm bolting from the studio for a while and trekking over to Whole Foods. I stole an hour walking in the park yesterday - today I'll get my footwork, sunshine and retail therapy all at once, if I park waaaaay out on the lot at the store.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

shifting stance for a better view

"Skull Canyon" by Meghan Wilbar
Nothing from me but here's some eye-candy. I see:

organic (away from the grid)

vistas (away from arm's length)

more of the rainbow 
(the in-between colors too)

What do you see?

"High on Pink" Joan Snyder

"Into Spring" Allison Stewart
"Memory Map Vt Summer"  Emily Miah Stewart

"January" by Patricia Carrigan
"Aired Out" Emily Mason