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Posts from the ‘Artwork’ Category

Remembering Barbara


A dear friend of mine passed away in 2017. She was a quilter and particularly fond of patriotic themes. She and I frequently sat together at a quilting bee meeting and always had a ready smile. She was always game for most things I asked–including the day that I took photos of her hands–well-worn, arthritic, and emblematic of so much life lived and loved for a photographic assignment.

We sat together one meeting while the next group project was displayed–it was a beautiful quilt with lots of hexagon flowers, vines, leaves–so intricate and made from Aunt Gracie type reproduction fabric.  Each member was to contribute half a dozen hexagon flowers–Barbara said she didn’t want to do it–those hexagons were too small for her–and I didn’t want to do it because I didn’t have that kind of fabric—. So we came up with a compromise–I would do her hexies if she would give me the fabric.

That quilt is still underway; and I am sure it will be gorgeous. I wanted to honor her memory with this small piece–about 15 by 15; backed by one of her patriotic fabric scraps, the hexies are from her fabrics–but a larger size than those I made for that quilt. It is destined to go to her husband–another dear friend.


Experimenting with Batik


With an abundance of beeswax I decided I wanted to try batik. I read through several books on batik—and then used a cute little crockpot to heat up the wax and apply it to cotton fabric. My favorite tool was an old potato masher I found at an antique store for 50 cents.

Then I wanted to try crackle–a traditional aspect of batik involving fine lines in a random pattern–usually in black. So I soaked the fabric in the wax, twisted it up and then put it in the freezer. Beeswax does not crackle as well as paraffin or soy but I thought I give it a try.

Next is removing that wax. I tried ironing it with an abundance of newsprint paper—but the resulting fabric was still quite stiff–smelled like honey–but too stiff to be called fabric.

Off to the restaurant supply store to buy a large soup kettle–and a sieve to fit inside—that sieve didn’t work but suspending the fabric with a bit of chicken wire over the top did.

Here is the result of my first batik efforts. The piece on the most left has been dyed twice.batik20results-m

Faces of Innocense

Some years ago I was in a surface design college level class with much younger students. They were not the tidiest of creatures–and left yogurt cups of liquid dye or dye paste when they had finished their project. None of them seemed to know how to wash up or clean up after themselves either–and I found myself cleaning the counter-tops and re-washing the equipment so it would be dye-free for the next user—-all on Sunday mornings after church–which meant I was in the lab by myself.

I had prepped a piece of muslin with alginate–thus stiffening it and making it like a piece of very nice water-color paper. There were several fairly full cups of liquid dye sitting near the sink to be cleaned up—I used them to paint this image—using as inspiration a photo I had taken earlier of three little girls waiting for their much older sister after a football game.

After painting it–I steamed it–and then rinsed out the alginate. It then sat in a to-do pile for a long time–

Now it is finished except for stretching it on a frame. I used felt as the stabilizer and decided I did not like it—too slippery—so it’s back to a decorator cotton or my favorite –non-waled corduroy.

Here is the original painted piece…start20of20innocence-m

and now the  completed piece…finish20of20innocence-m

Color and Collages

The local Fiber Art group I started has been doing monthly collages and will begin a mystery block exchange in September. I suggested a color study so we will have something to critique along with our collages.

The collages were to include text somewhere in the completed piece. I got more than a bit behind and started in July with this piece. I decided to pick out just one event for the month and illustrate it. July’s piece was all about the Rainier cherries–my favorite fruit after MacIntosh apples.july201720collage-m

The second piece was about the Solar Eclipse as viewed in Fort Worth Texas….If I had known Harvey was gong to be so eventful I might have chosen it but I am trying to focus on pleasurable things–not devastation or sadness.


These two pieces and the subsequent pieces will be mounted on stretcher bars and better photos taken then and uploaded to website.

And then here is the beginning of the color exchange. Each person chose a paint chip of the three primary colors…I did all three as examples–but actually I lost the extra paint chips somewhere and so could not pick one. The rules were simple–a simple coloring book image, shades of the color–white or black okay but the fabric had to read that color. It could also be done with crayons, paint or paper.

I began with pulling appropriate fabrics and then chose them to indicate some semblance of volume in the image.fabrics20pulled20for20color20challenge-m


These pieces are now all appliqued in place; I will add embroidery accents later this week.

Our next challenge will be the secondary colors. And hopefully we will all be back to somewhat normal by the time the next challenge is due to be assigned.


Dick Gordon

When I first heard about the Fly Me to the Moon planned exhibit I was definitely interested and was assigned Dick Gordon. At that time I knew very little about him and so I spent many hours on his website, reading about his missions, and looking through hundreds of NASA photos–all under public domain. All of the astronauts have their photos taken wearing their spacesuits with helmets in hand in a formal pose. I knew that was a dress-up day—and that they worked hard perfecting their skills.

We have been to NASA several times–we live just an hour or so away and it makes for a fun family day with the rockets and all the exhibits. Then, too, I happened upon a set of paintings by one of the astronauts of what it was like to be in outer space—and I was quite envious.

I picked an informal photo of Dick Gordon suiting up.

I decided to represent the earth as I have seen it from a plane–all rectangles and squares and different colors of brown and blue and tan. I separated this with some finely pieced rows of what I thought it might look like to be blasting through space with some jagged white lines through blue—then a wide strip of blue and another set of earth formations as they returned to earth. Some of this fabric was hand-dyes, some commercial fabrics.

Next came the image. Since this was a public domain photo, I enlarged it, then traced off major components. I chose the fabrics very carefully–a brown with stars for his hair, a pledge of allegiance printed fabric for his suit, a dark blue flowered print for the inside collar and cuffs—from my grandmother born in the 1890’s who lived through the Wright brothers first flight, WWI , the depression, WWII, John Glenn’s orbiting the earth, and the landing on the moon. I also included a small bit of fabric from my father’s shirt as the NASA patch–he was a proud WWII veteran who served in Pearl Harbor and flew the flag at every opportunity, bought and wore a poppy every November 11, and marked all the veterans’ graves in local cemeteries on Memorial Day and Fourth of July.

I cut out the large pieces and then hand-applique them into place. I mark the major lines from behind and begin to stitch. This piece took about 30 hours to stitch the face, suit, and hand.

Some quilting is added to the background so it will lie flat. The final step was adding the lettering. I don’t use an embroidery machine–I write them in a wordprocessing program and enlarge them to the appropriate size, then put the paper upside down on the back and trace it over with my sewing machine—then turn to the front and heavily stitch the letters.

Last step is adding a backing, binding and sleeve and a label.

All told this was about six weeks of solid work with four to five hours per day.img_0040-m

Lunar Landing

In 1969 our parents let all of us stay up late to watch the landing on the moon. Although reporting seemed to be much more factual than opinion at that time–there were details omitted from that occasion. One thing was that Buzz Aldrin, an elder at Webster Presbyterian Church off Nasa Road 1 took communion before opening the hatch and stepping out. Every Sunday closest to July 20, that church celebrates Lunar Landing as one of its High Holy Days.

An exhibit of the Apollo missions was on display in the sanctuary–a beautiful space filled with gorgeous abstract stained glass windows by Steven Wilson. The sermon was an eulogy for John Glenn and Annie, both members of that church also–Annie played the organ, John was also an elder and preached several times.

I was fortunate enough to have my piece about Dick Gordon hung. And here I am standing near it—here20i20am20with20my20piece-m

It was a spectacular show beautifully displayed. To my surprise I was welcomed by the associate pastor and greeted by the art director. There will be another meeting on Friday night; I’d love to go but it would mean driving back in the dark–I’m not so good at that any more. We’ll see how brave I am.

Tomorrow I’ll describe some of my process in making the piece.

Under the Sea on Mars and a Tree for SAQA

under20the20sea20of20vastitis20borealis20mars-mA sandwich bag can contain an amazing amount of ‘stuff’–enough to make this 9 by 12 piece I named Under the Sea of Vastitis Borealis on Mars–clearly very imaginary as we can only guess what might be there. I had enough left for four postcards and then a bit more–that I put back in that sandwich bag to provide fertilizer/seeds for the next round–should there be one.

hexagon20tree20for20saqa-mThe Tree is made of English pieced hexagons from a packet of quarter inch hexagons; sewn on a background of blue hand dyed silk, foreground of hand-dyed cotton, and fastened with dozens of French knots. It was a fun project but I am going to try hard to avoid the booth at Quilt Festival that sells these–so enticing–a small packet–not much room–not heavy–and  less than $5—I couldn’t resist the first time–but will not look their way in November.


Photo Session

One of my least favorite things to do is to photograph my work. I’ve discovered smaller pieces are much more manageable but then I have some pieces that are just larger because they want to be the size they become.

Sunday Dresses started out as a few pineapple blocks in a Quilt Festival workshop with Gyleen Fitzgerald. She is a real dynamo and the class was fun, her tool very helpful, and it didn’t hurt that I was there with a rowdy group of Holus Bolus. I came home with four or five pineapple blocks with three rounds each. I continued on with some black and white prints–all from my mother’s scrapbasket of leftovers from her Sunday Dresses. There were some everyday blouses and aprons and a few shirts for my brothers and so I sliced them all up with my handy dandy Accuquilt Studio cutter.

I set those blocks together and then decided to finish it off with several rounds of just straight strips set together end to end in a random pattern–just like my grandmother did with a special quilt she made just for me. That quilt was batted with a wool blanket–she lived through the Depression and World War II and was thrifty by necessity.

This quilt was quilted on my Gammill using a star motif in the centers of those pineapple blocks.

Every time I look at it I see my mother’s wardrobe made of plywood sitting in the corner of her bedroom, filled with those white-black print dresses, the bottom with a box of fabric scraps all carefully rolled up and pinned together either with a straight pin or tied with a piece of selvedge. That wardrobe was still there when we began remodeling the farmhouse–the dresses long gone but still so visible in my mind’s eye.


This is a small part of the completed piece. I tried to use her quilting stencils but quickly learned that hand quilting stencils do not work well with longarm machine quilting or probably any sort of machine quilting.

Portfolio Time

When I first joined SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) a portfolio of the juried artist members was produced intermittently–I asked–and was told when they had enough new work. Now it is an annual event and every year I try to find something that represents my work but hasn’t been submitted before. I like to do portraiture but there has recently been a wealth of portraits not done the way I do them but in a manner that many people seem to feel attractive. So I have gone back to abstract type or variations of traditional work.

Here is this year’s submission.

It is Floribunda. I started this in a Nancy Crow workshop and had bits and pieces of it to take home after an intense week there.—they are all intense! But great fun! Because I had started doing leader-enders and there are a lot of small seams to be made in this kind of work, I brought along a stack of roughly cut triangles from my grandmother–found in a box neatly labeled ‘material scraps’. I pieced those triangles together and those became part of the piece too.

I quilted it on my new Gamill longarm–named Vivian after my grandmother and so here it is.

Weir floribunda

and a detailWeir Floribunda detail

Skye Studios Adventures

img_5126-mA whirlwind of three days with much laughter and some sewing–and more cutting and sorting on my part has passed. Holus Bolus met for our spring retreat and as usual the time passed all too quickly.

I have been home now for three days and still cannot find my pins or my scissors. I remember putting them in my baskets/bags/boxes to return home but can I find them? I did find my knitting with a few dropped stitches–no problem there–the yarn is multicolored and those dropped stitches will fit right in with all the others.

We did manage to fit a lot of things in–a trip to the Piney Wood Quilt Guild show, a shopping trip to Atkinson Candy Factory Outlet, AND to the fabric lady who is available by appointment only, a passing off of our row quilts we had all worked so diligently on–lots of squeals of delight here—and then on to serious business. We traded fabrics to do a piece representing ourselves using Chagall as our inspiration.

I made spring rolls, the sisters cooked lovely meals, and Larry made steamers of shrimp, corn on the cob, and potatoes on the grill. Fritzi was excited to see us–and probably cried when we left–we all had to pet him.

Here are my photos from the event—