Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mixed-Media Abstract Piece

I've been suffering terrible neurological headaches for weeks VP shunt is not working properly. Instead of wallowing in my pain I've decided to try to express it the only way I know how...through fabric art. This is my first abstract piece and I put a lot of thought/design into the stages. If anyone sees this, please let me know how you interpret it, as with all abstract art, people see different things. Here's the entire work of art:

"Emerging From Pain"
Techniques used:
- deliberate use of color from no color (black and blackened copper) to bright colors in a golden embossed batik on the right.
- deliberate use of stitching lines: the first has squiggly verticals because the pain cannot let me draw or stitch a straightline, the second has diagonal lines, the third has horizontal stitching and the last has soothing waves of horizontals.
- Metalwork, all copper. Straight squares textured in vertical lines and painted black; then more rounded/oval pieces of copper still obscured by darkish paint; then embossed paisleys with a sparse amount of paint, and lastly intricate shapes unobscured by paint (two hands in the center, three oak leaves in bottom right).
- Abstract to literal. It is also tactile with shredded edges here and there. The elements in the first panel don't quite fit on the panel and extend into nowhere.
- Embroidery, quilling, thread painting (the flowers on the right panel) charms with words on them and little clocks showing the passing of time, and the special fiber trim grid in the first two panels -- one painted black and one in light brown -- showing how hard it is to emerge from the cage of pain.





Forgive my poor picture-taking. I hope you like it anyway!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I can't believe it

The shunt in my head has been malfunctioning for about two weeks now; I am in so much pain that everything is either hazy or blanked out in my mind. For the first time in two years, I have lost my creative drive. I can't believe I got anything done...somehow I accomplished the following few things:

Embroidered snowflakes sewn on Solvy, stiffened with Golden Medium Matte, spray painted with a glittery paint, and hung on my Christmas Tree:

Art cloth for a round robin group I am in (Complex Cloth yahoo group). The first person did the initial gray/green dye. I did a bleach discharge using a swirly stamp. Then I stamped all the discharge spots with the same swirly stamp in every shade of green I had in my textile paint stash. And on it goes to the next person:

For another Yahoo group (I can't remember which one, but I have until mid-Jan to find out) we are swapping needlefelted ATCs. I used several colors of muted wool roving and needlefelted by machine. Then I bobbin-stitched the swirls with a thick, glittery black thread. On top is the best part: three hand-dyed, pleated strips of silk made into flowers. Oh and a cloisonne bead in the center. I hope the recipient likes it!

Now I have to start preparing for a big Christmas Eve celebration at my house. The biggest and worst part: putting away all of my fiber art supplies that are spread out all over the house wherever there is room. Happy Holidays to all!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Copper Art

This was a UFO, then an experiment, then I was inspired and finished it. What happened to make this:

1. Started with a scrap of hand-dyed (LWI method) brown cotton
2. Used a 10"x10" stencil and applied Ivory-colored Descolourant Plus using a foam stippling brush. I was not at all happy with how the discharge and color came out. It was probably user error.
3. Even though the stencilled images weren't sharp, I used Lumiere paints to paint all of the elements, all except the large paisleys.
4. I stamped, embossed, and painted copper foil in small and large paisley shapes. Can you tell I love paisley swirls? Oh and the paint was actually nail polish.
5. I quilted in and around all elements using gold metallic thread and a 90/14 needle. No problems.
6. I picked out a beautiful commercial batik for a border and stitched them together.
7. I might have gotten carried away with the metallic theme, but I added gold thread stitching in a programmed funky satin stitch around the main element.
8. I ironed this, along with a full piece of the batik onto extra heavy pellon fusible interfacing; specifically Peltex two-sided fusible 72F.
9. I didn't care for the white interfacing showing on the edges so I stitched on a sheer copper/gold ribbon all the way around the front outside.
10. I stitched plastic tabs on the back for hanging. Voila -- my art piece!

"Paisley in Copper and Gold" - 16" x 16"

detail of the gold stitched copper paisley

Fun With Fiber

Several days ago as I was cleaning, straightening, and organizing my home "studio", I got a big picture as well as detailed inventory of all the fiber trim I actually have. My husband and other normal people would probably agree that I have too much fiber...fabric, trim, yarn, etc.

Anyway, this was before the arts & crafts show deadline and I had a day or two on my hands. So I created the pieces below and they were truly fun to make. They consist of many strips of fabric, trim, ribbon, yarn, etc. and topped with beading in places. All of them are approximately 15" x 15"; not completely square because the process of sewing down all that stuff pulled it in at the bottoms. I used a square piece of wool to start with and covered it with hand-dyed fabric. When all was done I glued it to a piece of foamboard and a picture hanging zig-zaggy thing to hang it straight.

It makes me happy to see them on the wall with all of their bright colors. I hope they are fun for you to look at also!

Fun With Fiber - Cool Colors

detail of cool colors -- beading

Fun With Fiber - Hot Colors

detail of cool colors -- beading

Fun With Fiber - Neutrals and Metallic

detail of metallic piece -- beading

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My First Arts & Crafts Show

Yesterday I exhibited my fiber art and extra purses at a Holiday Bazaar arts & crafts show here in Rochester. Overall it was disappointing because I sold only one piece. But the woman that bought "Joyful Ribbon Tree" just fell in love with spoke to her and she told me "this is my mother who died recently; I love this and will hang it over my bed. I will be keeping it in my family forever". Now that is what art is all about! Even though I only sold that one piece, which wasn't even that good in my mind, it really made a difference to someone's life -- how fabulous! I also got a lot of great praise and positive critique, because I asked for it when people were browsing. So who knows? Maybe someone who took my card will commission a piece. Bottom line is I just covered my entrance fee, but no profits. I will be careful where I spend my time and energy. My art was just too high end for a crafty fair where the other vendors were like Pampered Chef, Cookie Lee, and other manufactured things only represented by people.

Here's my small booth:

Me displaying my art 12/4/10

My banner at the craft show

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I apologize for the right-hand column duplications. I'm still figuring out this blogging thing.


I don't have any yet. Is there anything you've seen here that I've done that you'd like me to tutorialize? Just click on the comments link, let me know, and I'll work on it.

Experimenting with Photographs

Photo on Fabric Series -- 11/17 TO 11/22

This past week I made four art pieces, experimenting with photographs on different material.


Sequoias From Below - 15.5" x 18.5"
 This copyright-free photograph was so inspiring when I found it that I HAD to display it. It is printed on Lutrador through my inkjet printer. The Lutrador was melted around the edges and lightly in spots. I purposely chose a neutral (beige) fabric to stitch it on, so that the focus is totally on the trees. The fabric is a shiny, thick-strand, loosely-woven silk and rayon material that I picked up in the remnant section of the home design or upholstery section of Joann's. I love that it ravels at the edges, giving it a natural look, so of course I did not bind the edges. I made hanging tabs out of beige linen and inserted a twig from my backyard to complete the scene. The only thing I did to the photograph itself was to follow and fill-in the tree lines with a sepia-colored micron pen. Oh, and I outlined a few of the trees with monofiliment thread. The same fabric is on the back, with a high-loft poly batting in-between.

Here is the detailed view of the sequoia photograph. See if you can see through the Lutrador!

Sequoia detail - 6" x 9"

This colorful autumn photo was printed on regular cotton. I used monofiliment thread to attach it to a piece of black organza and to outline the trees and branches a bit. I also used this thread to embroider the outline of a maple leaf on each side. The interesting part of this piece is the batting -- what I usually use is high-loft polyester batting, but it was ruining the effect because it was white glaring through the black organza. So I used Lumiere paints and painted the batting with the autumnal colors from the tree. I put it in the dryer after it dried, to set it and fluff it up before the quilting part. I went plain on flat black binding.

Gorgeous Maple Trees - 12" x 12"

Here is a close-up of the photo part:

Gorgeous Maple Trees detail - 6.5" x 6.5 "

Piece #3 -- MY PEONY

This is a picture of one of my peonies from this past spring; you can see my hand holding it in the lower right corner (just in case you were wondering what that was). The photo was printed on Extravorganza in my inkjet printer, and stitched on fuschia organza. Hahaha -- extravorganza on organza! The photo is unenhanced -- the combo of the white poly batting and fuschia organza brought out the colors of the peony just as it is/was. Again I only used monofiliment thread to outline the parts of the flower. To add to the delicate nature of this piece I used hand-dyed 7mm silk ribbon to outline both the photo (very light pink) and the serged edges (a variegated fuschia)

My Peony - 16" x 13.5"

Piece #4 -- FOREST PATH
This piece is kind of a combination of methods described above, and the last in this series of work. My husband sent me this copyright-free beautiful photo and I couldn't resist. The picture is 6.5" x 9" and the whole thing is a relatively small (for me) 11" x 13.5". The autumnal photo was printed on plain cotton, stitched on, and only highlighted in a few places with monofiliment thread. It sits on yellow organza with the poly batting, and framed by a bronze colored binding. These last three photo-on-organza pieces would look fabulous together on a wall...or maybe just the two autumnal ones because the colors are more complementary.

Forest Path - 11" x 13.5"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Copper Fleur-de-Lis


This simple design was taken right out of an online tutorial; sorry but I forgot to write down the web address of the tutorial. Anyway I used 28 gauge copper foil, traced my fleur-de-lis design, and etched it using a wooden skewer; I re-etched it once I turned it over so the tiny circles would stand out; I painted with Adirondack alcohol-based ink; lastly I lightly sanded the edges just for looks. As you can see I stitched it with turquoise thread to match the hand-dyed fabric. The fabric itself is beautiful alone -- this summer I sundyed it with shades of green and blue and laid cheesecloth over it for a subtle pattern. You might not be able to see it in the large picture but it is quilted over two layers of poly batting with a fleur-de-lis pattern. I did this using a purchased embroidery file and of course machine embroidered it. After I did the binding I thought it was too boring and needed something. So instead of throwing it in my UFO pile, I added the strips of fusible bias tape. Do you like it or no? Does it still need more or is simple enough?

Fleur-de-Lis - 16" x 16"

Fleur-de-Lis - detail of center medallion 7" x 6.5"

Fleur-de-Lis - detail of quilting

Please feel free to leave comments -- good or bad. Love you guys!

Small Landscape

DELLA'S COTTAGE - 11/14 to 11/15

On Sunday I took a class at my local quilt shoppe and we began a landscape quilt from a kit -- "Della's Cottage" copyrighted by Columbine Designs. Our instructor was Karla Wilsey, an attorney who makes beautiful landscapes when she can. Even though I now have an arsenal of techniques for my landscaping I DID learn a few things, so it was totally worth it. For anyone who has ever seen this (very small) landscape, I put down the basics but veered off the pattern for my own highlights and embellishments.

Della's Cottage 20" x 22"

As you can see, the landscape portion is small - only 7.5" wide by 9.5" high. I found this wonderful landscape fabric in my stash and I thought it went perfectly with the colors and the theme, so I made a large border. My extra embellishments include puffed-up batting on the snow, angelina on the river, snow on the mountains, and extending the pine tree into the border.

The two things I learned in this class that I didn't know before are:
 1. Cording. We made the tree using several strands of crochet thread (that you can get at Michael's or Joann's). The thread was zig-zagged over with a matching/coordinating thread and voila you have a cord. Four of these were sewn together onto the foundation muslin to make the tree and cut-up pieces as the branches.
 2. Another way to make snow. The instructor gave us a shiny piece of poly-something, we ironed MistyFuse onto the back and when it is still warm, we scrunched it up to make the drifts. Very cool. As I mentioned above, I then sewed down some fluffy poly batting with Monofil thread, and fluffed it to cover the stitches.

Here's detail of the landscape portion:

Della's Cottage - detail of landscape 7.5" x 9.5"

Oh no, I see a jump thread right there on the pin needles. I'll take care of that. I used variegated green thread to make the smaller evergreens, and a darker variegated green for the large tree's pine needles. I outlined the clouds in a variegated blue & white thread, used Pebeo Expandable Paint on the mountains, Angelina on the stream, and gave some definition to the chimney with black thread. For everything else I used monofiliment thread -- to outline the shapes and in the quilting. I thought the borders had enough elements without adding another color with thread. All the clouds on the top, the trees down the sides and the water on the bottom were free motion stitched with the monofil. I used two layers of poly batting to get these elements to really stand out. Hope you like it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Little Humor

True Story:  I do a lot of my beading work sitting on the daybed in my guest bedroom / sewing room / studio. You know how they get everywhere. About 2 weeks ago a container of the tiny 11mm beads practically exploded when I opened it. I tried to clean up as best as I could.

Don't you know, last weekend my son came home for a quick, unannounced visit from the Army. When he comes home I usually take a whole day to clean up my studio for him, but no time this time. The next day he says to me, "Mom I think you need to wash those sheets. I had the heebie-jeebies all night, thinking something was in there with me. You probably have bed bugs or something." I just said, "Hrmmm, I'll take care of it". After he left that day I took the covers and sheets off and lo-and-behold all of these beads flew out. I thought I got them off the quilt, but apparently some made their way into the sheets. It makes me chuckle just to think about it.

Here's a shot of my three "boys" (they'll always be my boys, even if the older two are grown up) and my hubby. The Army son referred to is on the right.

My YOUNG men

A relative sent me a link to this cool site with old, new, funny, editorial, and lots of other comics on it; check it out at .

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Charity Work

I belong to a group of ladies who sew quilts for local charities; we get together once per month. In addition I've created a number of quilts for Quilts For Kids ( This is a wonderful organization that provides quilts for very sick children in hospitals in the USA. They are all crib size; sorry if they don't look that way hanging on the clothesline.  Here's a few:

Boys quilt - all batiks

Baby Quilt

Farm quilt for a child - front view

Farm quilt - back view

Experimenting with Lutrador


I've had 3 packages of Lutrador in my studio for months now, so I finally decided to take the plunge and check out this product. I've seen some interesting and beautiful things done to it. Here's my first piece using Lutrador, I call it "Hidden Flowers"

Hidden Flowers
 Lutrador is a wonderful textile (is it a material or textile). It has a light hand and melts nicely when heated. I started with four squares of Lutrador and painted them with alcohol-based paints in 4 different darkish colors. When dry I free-motion stitched flowers randomly on the Lutrador, using a heavy, glittery, showy black thread. Then I took it outside and put the heat gun to it -- that was really cool. I made it burn away at the ends and have lots of semi-holes in it, so you could see what was underneath. In the meantime I fused a bright flowery piece of commercial fabric to stiff interfacing. I tacked down the Lutrador just at the flowers, so it looks like it might fall off; but it won't. Then I made pouffy flowers out of multiple layers of colorful batik; I chose batik because both sides would be seen. These are also placed somewhat randomly. The winding line represents a winding garden path with something new to see around each bend. My flower garden has paths and little rooms too. There are also very small, stitched-on copper flowers hidden here and there. Bet you can't find all the flowers!

To finish I stitched a beautiful sheer ribbon to the heavy interfacing (Paltex 72F) and then glued the 19" by 19" piece to a piece of foamcore board and affixed a regular hanging bar that you use on pictures. Here is a closer look:

Hidden Flowers -- detail

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Chocolate and Turquoise Series

CHOCOLATE AND TURQUOISE -- yummy color combo

One of my favorite color combinations is chocolate brown and turquoise blue. I went through this month-long phase this summer and created a series of works in this color scheme. All the cloth is hand-dyed and the tree stamp was carved by me. My accents are mostly in copper (paint, wire, foil, ribbon, etc). In #1 there are also tiny pink flowers. They are all (except for the needlefelting one) made as quilted wallhangings with high loft poly batting. The quilt patterns are freehand and interesting. Anywhere you see leopard, this was handmade cloth made from muslin and a napkin from the grocery store.

Here they are, hope you like something:

#1: 21" wide by 19.5" high

Choc-Turq series #1

#1 detail showing the tree stamp, a little pink flower, one of the swirls with copper beading, a piece of leopard with a turquoise bead and the swirly stitching.

Choc-Turq #1

#2: 19" wide by 19" high

Choc-Turq series #2

#2 detail showing the tree stamp again with copper inside edging painted on; painted centers with a chain stitch consisting of 10 beads -- they look like they are popping out of the tree; brown and goldish copper vertical stripes with mixed gold and copper beading and one of the pink inspirational quotes painted.

Choc-Turq series #2

#3: 22" wide by 21" high. This has a lot going on and I love it! You can never have enough embellishment in my book! I had just bought a paisley-shaped Fiskars stamp and used it here on copper foil and fabric, which when placed together look like the yin and yang symbol. Most of the copper has been painted or textured. The swirly/paisley blue down the center is a commercial stamp. Minimal stitching was done as you can see: the blue thread emphasizing specific elements.

Choc-Turq series #3

#3 detail showing the elements described above

Choc-Turq series #3

#4: 20" wide by 20" high. Many of the same elements as the previous but with a heavy emphasis on the leopard. The funky strip down the middle and top/bottom inside the border is actually the quilt base fabric which was a botched attempt at doing some resist in my dyeing. Two more new elements are the foil daisies running down the aforementioned strip and a matching paisley stamp which set color perfectly using Adirondack alcohol-based ink (no seeping).

Choc-Turq series #4

#4 detail showing everything. The color seems to be off; I'll have to re-do this shot. What I wanted to highlight was some pretty intricate flower paisley stitching. Free motion sewing continues to be a struggle.
Choc-Turq #4

#5 9" wide by 12" high. A needlefelted piece also shown in the "Needlefelt" page of this blog.

Choc-Turq series #5

There will probably be more added here. I saw a dress yesterday that was chocolate and turquoise, but the accent color was lime/citrine. Loved it! I wish I was a seamstress...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Learning and Inspiration

This quote from Guila Greer on the QuiltArt forum is exactly how I feel:

"As a relative newcomer to art quilting I'm still finding my way - right now I feel like I'm all over the place. So many of the artists that I admire have work that reflects their style and appears cohesive.  I'm very interested in learning how to proceed.  I'm thinking that it's just a matter of doing a lot of art and it'll develop?  Or are there concrete steps to take to get there? Right now I'm concentrating on learning new techniques so that they'll be available to me to use or not to use in a particular piece."

I've gotten some feedback on working in series and concentrating on design and composition. Thank you to all who have given me feedback so far on my art.

For other newbies like myself I'd like to list what has helped me the most in my learning journey. It's a great journey for I love learning new things. Anyway maybe this will help someone:

- Forums (like QuiltArt) and groups (like Yahoo's Surface Design group)
- Magazines - I love Quilting Arts and Cloth/Paper/Scissors the best
- Nature and my surroundings - just observe
- Other people's art
- Other people's blogs, especially the ones who take the time to create tutorials. Thank you so much. The "Tutorial Tsunami" was extremely helpful.

And here are the books I've purchased, devoured, and learned from. The order of the list starts with those I loved best, although I love them all.
- The Complete Guide to Textile Art, by Susan Stein, 2010

- Fabric Embellishing: The Basics and Beyond, by RUth Chandler, Liz Kettle, Heather Thomas, Lauren Vlcek, 2009

- Dancing With Thread, by Ann Fahl, 2010

- ART CLOTH: A guide to Surface Design for Fabric, by Jane Dunnewold, 2010

- COMPLEX CLOTH, by Jane Dunnewold

- Surface Design Essentials, by Jane Davila, 2010

- Art + Quilt: Design Principles and Creativity Exercises, by Lyric Kinard, 2009

- Watercolor Landscape Quilts, by Cathy Geier, 2006

- Machine Embroidered Woodlands, by Alison Holt, 2009

- Accidental Landscapes, by Karen Eckmeier, 2008

- Luminous Landscapes: Quilted Visions in Paint and Thread, by Gloria Loughman, 2007
- Points of View: Landscape Quilts to Stitch and Embellish, by Valerie Hearder, 2007
- Beautifully Embellished Landscapes, by Joyce R. Becker, 2006
- Landscape Quilts: Create Stunning Fabric Paintings, by Nancy Zieman, Natalie Sewell, 2001
- The Art of Landscape Quilting, by Nancy Zieman, Natalie Sewell, 2007
- Impressionist Quilts, by Gai Perry, 1995
- Quick Watercolor Quilts, by Dina Pappas, 1999
- Exploring Color, by Nita Leland, revised 1998
- Next Steps in Altered Photo Artistry, by Beth Wheeler, 2009,
- The Art of Stitching on Metal, by Ann Parr, 2008
- Simple Silk Ribbon Embroidery by Machine, by Susan Schremph, 2008
- Cutting Garden Quilts, by Melinda Bula, 2007
- Fabric Art Collage: 40+ Mixed-Media Techniques, by Rebekah Meier, 2009
- Machine Applique for the Terrified Quilter, by Sharon Pederson, 2008
- Living the Creative Life, by Rice Freeman-Zachery, 2007
- The New Beader's Companion, by Judith Durant and Jean Campbell, 2005
- Fabulous Fabric Beads, by Kristal Wick, 2008
- Stitched Jewels, by Marthe LeVan, 2009
- Create Your Own Hand-Printed Cloth, by Rayna Gillman, 2008
- Silk Unraveled, by Lorna Moffat, 2008
- Metal Craft Discovery Workshop, by Linda & Opie O'Brien, 2005
- Needlefelting Magic, by Margo Duke, 2007
- Design Magic for Paintstiks on Fabric, by Shelly Stokes, 2010
- Bold and Beautiful: Artful Quilts from Just One Fabric, by Judi Dains, 2009
- 30-Minute Landscapes, by Paul Talbot-Greaves, 2008
- Heartfelt: 25 Projects for Stitched and Felted Accessories, by Teresa Searle, 2006
- Creative Paint Workshop for Mixed-Media Artists, by Ann Baldwin, 2009
- Flowercolor Inspirations, by Linda Glantz, 2009
- Mastering Machine Applique, by Harriet Hargrave, 2001
- This Lustr'd Cloth, by Alison Midgelow-Marsden, 2010