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Posts from the ‘Artwork’ Category

Tree and Trees

A few minutes ago I updated my Collectors Page to include two pieces that will be shipped off later this week to their respective new homes.

The first piece is a postcard for Sacred Threads, an exhibit held on alternate years somewhere around the Washington DC area. I have had several pieces in the exhibit in past years and have always enjoyed working with the original show creator Vickie Pignatelli. I am not clear on what they plan to do with these postcards but perhaps they will be on sale at some point.


And then SAQA  (Studio Art Quilt Association) is holding a convention in Lincoln Nebraska the last week of April 2017 during which small pieces of art are sold. The rancor amongst those of the group on the Yahoo forum has made me rethink my wish to attend the convention or be associated with the group. This pieces is 6 by 8


Both of these pieces were constructed from the trimming of edges from Falling in Colors. The base fabric is silk, the tree trunks are black rayon free hand cut and then there is a lot of embroidery on the trunks and the backgrounds to finish the pieces. Each piec is bound and backed and labeled. And I have another piece that will grace the front of one of my notebooks–that I am keeping for myself.

Falling in Colors

Several months ago I accepted an invitation to produce a themed piece based on working outside usual methods. This exhibit would be shown at several Mancuso shows around the US.

I decided to work with silk (not my usual fabric) and to dye it using a variation of ice-snow dyeing. The dye powder was mixed with play sand and put in shaker containers–Parmesan cheese containers worked great. The fabric was first soaked in a washing soda/water mixture, then spread out on the ground and sprinkled with the dye/sand. The sand had enough moisture in it to bind the dye powder and not let it fly around as dust–and then it would strike as it fell on the wet fabric.

My dear friends and I did yards and yards of fabric like this at one of our retreats—and because there was a washing machine and dryer in the cabin–the fabric was washed and dried before we returned home.

I cut off a length of this fabric to use as my base for this piece.


The yellow blotches you see there are printed leaves collected from the sugar gum trees in front of the George R Brown Convention Center in Houston where the annual International Quilt Festival is held. The smaller leaves were maple leaves from my farm.

I then used those leaves as patterns to cut out leaves from felt and silk–they were surprisingly flexible even after using them as printing stamps.—and I used an old printer’s bottle ink mixed with fabric medium to print.


I quilted the background first before putting these leaves down–lots of straight lines in various angles.

The piece was then trimmed, bound, sleeve and label applied—and shipped off to join the others in the exhibit.

It was a fun piece to make–fun to experiement, fun to try something new in a small enough piece to not worry about waste but not so large as to make it laborious.

Here is the final piece:;Falling%20Colors%202017-M.jpg

Blue and Gray



I made this piece several years ago when this country seemed to be in turmoil with opinions flying both pro and con—once again–or did we ever get to a place where we were all united?

This is an image of two former classmates at West Point, George Armstrong Custer and James Washington. Before the Civil War broke out they might have participated in ‘war games’ and sat just like this–who can tell who the prisoner is and who is the captor? Their life (on the left) was orderly and predictable.

Then life became chaotic and now they are enemies—but exactly what is the difference between captor and prisoner?


Self Portrait

Once a year –actually the past two years-==I’ve had to do a self portrait as the assignment for the photography class I’m taking with Ricky Tims and a huge crew of very talented photographers. I do not like self portraits–and I discovered that most of the others didn’t either. So—

I set up the tripod in our bedroom. To be sure I had it aimed correctly I asked my husband to sit on the couch. He obliged with one of his intellectual poses.


So now it was all ready. All I had to do was push the timer and rush to be seated. But he decided I needed some props–the coffee cup was already there–and Dora was on the floor next to his computer. Dora laid down on his pillow behind me and sniffed at my neck.


it is very tickly as you might imagine. Perhaps Toby might be convinced to pose.


nope–too much clutter in the background. Time to move the angle of the camera.


a bit of cropping and this is what I submitted. I am still in my nightgown and that is my second cup of coffee.

Tomorrow–the self portrait I did in fiber.

Bits and Pieces


One of the fun things I like to do when I’m not really in the mood to start a real art project—and also–I admit to clean up some of the bits and pieces and starts and stops and experiments and samples–is to turn them into notebook covers.  My middle son used Marble notebooks to draw his designs, make notes on things he was doing with his motorcycle, adaptations to his unicycle and so forth. The notebooks are the perfect size to carry around, large enough to allow drawings and notes. I use them for my morning pages and journaling, each one lasting about six months or so.

These particular covers were experiments by a friend who was pulling out some things to look at and wondered what she could do with them—and another one said—well, Sylvia can make them into notebook covers for you.

And so they went home with me–and here are the results.

I typically use a background piece that is long enough and tall enough to wrap completely around the notebook and the inside flap. In this case it was red corduroy. Sometimes there is a lot of stitching to hold things together–sometimes not. Some are woven strips, some are just patched together pieces, and a few are like a fiber postcard sewn carefully onto the notebook cover—not so easy but certainly possible.

in the near future some of my notebooks will be on sale at the Quilt Museum in LaGrange Texas. Or you could ask me to make you a notebook cover from some of your bits and pieces.

Here is a sneak peak at some of those notebooks


Carrie Nation is Bested by Port Arthur tavern owner



My apologies for not so nice a photo but it’s more than a challenge to shoot through a display window at an angle with lighting not designed for photography—

However, on with the story as it is difficult to read the printed signage here.

Port Arthur in pre-prohibition days boasted many more taverns than churches and as such it was ripe fodder for Carrie Nation. She appeared with her axe and proceeded to a tavern she heard was the biggest and worst offender of the group. The owner of the tavern did not think he should close his tavern on the advice of Carrie and put up such a fight that she was so impressed she gave him this little axe pin as a memento. The tavern didn’t close and Carrie decided other areas were much more susceptible to her ambition.

This is in the Museum of Southeast Texas in Port Arthur Texas in what is mostly a very deserted downtown area. Many buildings are boarded up as the oil refinery business which depended upon multitudes of workers is now much more automated. There are huge parking lots with weeds growing in the cracks that used to be packed full of the cars and trucks of the workers.

The museum does have a lot of interesting things–memorabilia from Janis Joplin who grew up here, Karen Silkwood–ditto–a lot of football players and other sports and coaches—-and musicians. And then there is Rauschenberg who has an entire room devoted to his posters–quite nice many of them.

There was also a display of animal paintings–I was disapointed in their quality–the contest for the under 6 and up to 12 year old pieces were much more imaginative and full of life than the somewhat professionally done pieces.

Here are a few more photos of the day

A day amongst the Christmas trees in the Museum of East Texas


On a whim my dear friend Sherry and I decided to make a mad dash to Lufkin–in the mist and drizzle–to see Jeanelle and her stitched birds AND the Christmas trees on display in the museum. We were not disappointed. The trees were wonderfully creative and we each picked out our favorite tree as a symbol of ourselves–mine the tripod tree, Jeanelle the driftwood tree, Sherry the Granny Yount doll tree although she was strongly drawn to the lice tree–as a school nurse she had oodles of experience–and later on we found the sign for the Lice removal Association.

Then we went to Ray’s Drive in–a popular local spot which still has a drive-in service–we opted to eat inside. My catfish burger was hot and tasty–while the other two had more traditional burgers on gluten free buns. Then we decided a side trip to Froggy Fibers was in order as we had spied their tree at the Museum.—Bags of roving, tiny little birds and people all made from either needle felting or knitted. There were even some tiny knitting kits with toothpicks as the knitting needles and a bead glued to the end.

Then, as were driving right past Sharon’s place where she had all her fabric on 50% off–we just had to stop and enhance our fabric stashes.

Home in the drizzle and rain—but a fun day.

More photos at

Burrowing Owl–a Portrait in Fiber

As a member of Studio Art Quilt Associates I contribute to their annual auction of 12 by 12 pieces and then to the trunk show which travels around the world for 3 years. This year I got rather a late start but was pleased to see the deadline was extended to mid December.

Usually I do a portrait of a person–from my collection of photographs taken on my travels–but this time I decided to try a creature—specifically a Burrowing Owl. This photo was taken in Anahuac Wildlife Preserve near Winnie Texas. They are very tiny creatures–and this one had found a nesting spot underneath a cement slab that formerly held a feeding station for cattle. Cattle grazed nearby without any concern for the owl–and the owl did not particularly think anything of the people who drove by, stopped, and took photos—or of the cattle whose feet were quite close to the nesting spot.

So this is the photo I started with:img_1712-m

I translated it into fabric pieces:img_4271-m

I used felt as the batting for this piece–I am always trying to find a good base for my work–one that will allow dense stitching but not create wrinkles or bubbles in the top–the face–the part that sees the public.


not as accurate as I would like—and I will work on that on future pieces–

Self Portrait

Self portraiture is a time honored art tradition—

I proposed this for a small fiber art group–and of course, I was very late in completing mine—and it is so different–

Here I am—holding my great niece Ella—She was a bit fussy–her brother Eli much more content

and yes it is my back–I am somehow fascinated with the backs of people–as being very expressive–more so than faces.


photo taken by my spouse–

Circling Around

I can admit it—I like challenges—

This is a challenge from a small group—make a piece of fabric art using circle/s as a theme–pass it on to the next person–who ‘does something’ and then returns to original maker.

I did not take a photo of my original piece—but this is what I received—


not a particularly large piece–maybe about 9 inches or so.

And this is what I did


the pin attaches a piece of the lime green and the cranberry red fabrics–should the recipient/owner wish to use them in completion.

That lime green is an overdye of a light grey with stripes–I thought it ugly at the time–now I wish I had some of that fabric in its original state. You may see that lime green again—but I am sworn to secrecy regarding its use in another challenge issued by my local quilt guild