Friday, October 25, 2013

Day of the Dead Skelton Dolls

Sometimes you just have to play! It has been a while since I have made any dolls so when inspiration struck to make some, I jumped at the chance. It was so much fun! The dolls range from 12-inches to 7.5-inches. I used fabric markers to color the batik bodies because I thought it make the a little more interesting. Simple, yet fun and it continued to keep me sewing in my studio.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Day of the Dead

My love of the Mexican culture began in elementary school when I met my friend Patricia. While she was embarrassed by her culture, I was fascinated. I loved the idea that for a couple of days the veil between the world of the dead and the living was lifted and we could connect with our loved ones.

I was thrilled when heARTist Trading Card decided to use my suggested theme. I was pulled between two ideas so I decided to do both. I created the sugar skulls out of clay. They were fired in a kiln twice. I added jewels, dimensional paint and a star. I also added leather or waxed linen thread so that they can be hung.

While I was waiting on the sugar skulls, I also created some paper ATCs and used wigglie stickers of skulls or wiggle stereoscopy images that I have had since the 1980s when I collected them with my friend Karen Klein. It's time to start using up treasures from the past. On the ATC where you cannot see the wigglie, I put it on the back. I'll mail the treasures today. I think this has been the latest I have sent things out since the group began. Thankfully I still met the deadline. Meeting deadlines is important to me.

What treasures have you held on to and how long have you had them?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


 I needed some gifts so I decided to go back to making journals. It's been a couple of years since I have made these. The technique is my quilt-as-you-go. I use Meade journals so it is easy to replace and continue to use the cover. They have a pen holder in the back and a bookmark. I did quilt the butterflies. I love that the fabric had words! Wish I could remember where I bought it. It felt good to be back sewing and being able to send a little love in the mail.

What is your favorite gift to make?

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Power of Quilts

My nine-month-old grandson, Tyler, was visiting and suddenly became very excited about something in my dining room. It turned out to be my quilt, "Dropping Out of the Conga Line to Do the Meringue," my first quilt-as-you-go quilt using my own technique and made nearly 15 years ago. . He squealed with delight then reached to touch it. I allow people to touch my quilts.  Tyler delighted in touching the quilt. It made me think of Radke Donnell in her book Quilts As Women's Art: A Quilt Poetics, when she said that "Rewarding on so many levels, quilts appeal most of all to touch, and to the eyes as they come to rest, to have and to hold instead of seeking a hold and rest in vain. As I have written else where, quilts also stand symbolically for the epitome of warmth and its comforts and the pleasure of closeness and union with a desired object.  Unlike "untouchable art" quilts provide tactile rewards which may serve to challenge rigid prohibitions of touch. Because the sense of touch refers to women's experience and work, it can articulate women's concern's more completely than any other sense." Food for thought. I am just thrilled that Tyler connects so passionately with what I create.

I also want to make you aware that Ragged Cloth Cafe is up and running again. Ragged Cloth is art blog written primarily by fiber artists about any issues concerning artists.  All art forms, subjects, and time periods may be discussed. This is not a blog for self promotion or a place where we sell our work. but rather a place where we explore topics of concern to artists in any medium, but often with a fiber slant. It was begun by June Underwood and Clairan Ferrono is continuing it.  I am excited to be a contributor. This is an amazing resource and I strongly encourage you to check it out.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Life and Silent Meditation


Husband's job is eliminated.
Son passes the bar.

Both masks sell at ClaySpace's opening.
Turned down by a gallery show.

Sprain right wrist and get a little crabby.
Nine month old grandson reaches for me and gives me a very wet kiss.

Another friend dies.
I reconnect with one from the past.

Dad's health continues to decline.
Can't sleep because of all the ideas rattling around in my brain from sculpture class.

I get wonderful art in the mail from friends.
Make something new--mandalas for heARTist Trading Cards group. Thanks Linda Edkins Wyatt for the suggestion.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Creativity and Panic

”You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last minute panic.” - Bill Watterson

Doesn't Bill Watterson's quote hit the nail on the head! Deadlines are powerful motivators. ClaySpace's opening (tonight, tomorrow and Sunday) created a motivation for me to finish some work so I could be part of ClaySpace Gallery. The first piece was a mask that grew out of the bird pieces I was doing. The fiber is recycled sari silk. There are bone skull beads and other glass beads tied into the string that I dyed. I'm calling it "The Devil is in the Details."

The other mask, "Grief" is one of the first masks I made and one that my youngest son does not like at all. His reaction is quite strong. Passion is a good thing and I find his reaction interesting. I don't take it personally. I know my work is not for everyone.

I glued a piece of black wool felt to the back so the eyes, noses and mouth had more definition. I also added some teardrop metal beads. I am happier with it even if it is not one of my favorite masks. And I am in the gallery!  Overcame that fear and have even gotten compliments on my pieces. The real test will be if they sell.I am going to dwell in the possibility.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Story Behind the Quilt

The Ashe County Piecemakers Quilt Guild had a contest to honor my book, Quilts in the Attic. Brenda Cole, President won Best of Theme. The photo is of her with her quilt. Brenda and I never got to connect while I was there, but we have now. Isn't the Internet a wonderful thing! I don't think I will ever tire of hearing the stories behind a quilt. To me, it makes the quilt more intriguing and complete. Here is Brenda's story and I hope it touches your heart as much as it did mine.

"My grandmother Rosalie was born in 1896 and lived in Ashland, Kentucky, most of her life.  She had 5 children – 3 of them girls.  She made quite a few quilts and planned to give a quilt to each of her 10 grandchildren.  Things didn’t turn out that way, but that was her intention.  She died in 1976.  I had visited her in ’73 and she gave me an “umbrella girl” quilt that she had finished and showed me another finished one.  In the 1990’s, my cousin had rounded up the remaining quilts and the girl cousins divided them amongst the 3 of us who had known Gran closely.  At that time, I ‘inherited’ the 12 Umbrella Girl blocks that my Gran had not made into a quilt.  I knew nothing about quilting at the time.  When we moved to West Jefferson, I took lessons at a local quilt shop (which is no longer in business). After all this time, I decided to put my Gran’s quilt together.  It was perfect for the theme of this year’s fair.  I was on schedule to get it finished in plenty of time, but my Mother passed away on Sept 8 and we had to “take her home” to Florida where my Dad was buried.  So I was racing to get my quilt finished in time.  As I worked on it, I was very much aware that my Gran’s hands had handled that fabric and made those stitches.  I could also see where she had left basting stitches in on a few of the “girls” and saw little pencil marks where she had planned the lay-out.  There was an error on one of the blocks which I left “as is” for historical accuracy.  It was a very special project for me because of all this.  When Scott Murkin picked mine as the theme winner, it was a wonderful ending to a very emotional three weeks.  This will always be a very special quilt for me because it was 70 years in the making and was done by my Gran and Me.  (My granddaughters also call me Gran.)"

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sharing More From On the Same Page

 The people I met while in West Jefferson, N.C., for On the Same Page were warm, friendly, caring and sharing.   I love that I got to spend some time getting to know people. This is such a rare treat.

While I didn't quite get everyone who was at my lecture, I did get most of them. Those standing in the back left pretty quickly and I'm assuming they had jobs to do. Since my lecture occurred at the quilt show location and during the quilt show a lot of member could not attend so I was pleased with the turn out. The festival organizers must be happy too because they sold out of my book and left people wanting! I often free shipping.

I certainly hope my path crosses with the people I met again. Thank you!