Monday, December 29, 2014

The Daily Creative Practice

In between my other projects while in Florida, I joined the Facebook group "The Daily Creative Practice." Lots of great images there. Here's the pair I submitted today.

The upper image is a photo I took of the surf edge. The other is its transformation by the app Paper Artist. It would make a great background for ...

The ... Practice goes only through December 31st. Take a look!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Findings #3

The whole page of stitched live oak leaves, with its watercolor ground.
And another gorgeous sea grape leaf, with very different colors from the first two I chose. Part of the leaf tore as it dried; I clipped it away with scissors.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Findings #2

 Leaves from a walk at Lake Seminole Park, with their watercolor and thread embellishments.

Some of the nine live oak leaves on one page. My mom asked me why I was sewing all these leaves onto my journal pages. I had to think about how to answer that. I realized there are three reasons.
1. I enjoy  looking closely at these lovely objects.
2. I love doing this kind of embroidery.
3. I want a daily practice and trust that it will lead me somewhere if I just keep doing it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Findings #1

 Finds from my first beach walk of this Christmas trip to Madeira Beach, Florida. Two sea grape leaves, combined with embroidery threads and watercolors.

Luscious colors, yes?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Holiday Open Studio on Saturday

My chickadee drawing on organza, then over fabric and hand stitched. A little more to do on these. (Thanks for the idea, Valerie Komkov Hill in Quilting Arts!)

Mini collages turned into little hanging art works.

Also paper lanterns, little books, and cards. Selected art on sale.

See you on Saturday, December 13 from 10 to 5. With over a foot of new snow, the Adirondack woods will be beautiful!
NICHE Studio with fresh snow today

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Shades of Grey - Reverb14 Day 9

This first thing I thought when I saw today's blog writing prompt - Shades of Grey - was "lack of color." Maybe it's being here at my studio in the woods on another cloudy frozen day. I certainly rarely work with grey or even black and white in my art. Color is very important to what I have to say.

But the metaphor of seeing myself and the world in shades of grey is very different. It's how I try to view the larger world - allowing more variation and diversity while avoiding the "love this - hate that" mind. The choices of either black or white are so limiting. And isn't grey just so lovely sometimes?

Monday, December 8, 2014


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I just signed on to a blog party that involves writing in response to a daily prompt for 21 days. (See Kate McNally's blog.) I jumped in late, but it looks like fun and another way to keep my blog more active. Hopefully, you'll enjoy it! Let me know.

Yesterday's prompt was to post a favorite Selfie. As I never take Selfies, I got to work with my tablet in my favorite place to plan, dream, imagine, and write - in my bed as I slowly wake up with my coffee next to me. So now you know what I look like (this morning, anyway). I'm smiling at how funny this project turned out to be. Many rejected photos!

The prompt for today is "Connections." It's a very good one for December for lots of reasons. My great desire this time of year is to get in touch with all of my far-away friends. I've moved quite a bit so I have many. And I don't connect with them often enough, in spite of thinking of them. My attention is a "Be Here Now" kind of thing.

BUT! How does an artist who also teaches at a college do all this?! It's the season to make more art, sell more art, administer final projects and complete final grades, prepare and ship the gifts, and make arrangement for traveling to see my mom. (This is the short list ...) As much as I imagine making lovely cards myself and sitting by the fire writing a note to each dear person, it just isn't going to happen. My solution has become to buy someone else's lovely handmade cards and send them out between December 26th and Valentine's Day. Lots of benefits. 1) I can write an actual personal note, 2) my friends can read them when they are not inundated with stuff themselves, and 3) the friend who sold me the cards is happy. The connections will be made and I love that.

I have to mention here that one slender but important connection was to send or receive a note or card to and from my wonderful ex-mother-in-law. She passed away last night, and she was one of the most lovely women I have know. Irene and I met when I was 15, and she taught me a lot over all those years about grace and generosity. You were well-loved, Irene, and your longtime connection with me was highly valued.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Our Fabric Collage Class

In November, I taught a fabric collage class at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. Above are some of minis I made in class, using fabric of my own with some donations from class members. My hand embroidery is finished and the little pieces are ready to be made into gift tags or little hangings. Thanks to Susan, Deborah, Sylva, Stephanie, Sue, and Kathy! I learned so much from all of you!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Let's Try This

I really do love to post on my blog, and I've been trying to find an easier way to post more often. Technology is my friend but I'm still trying to get the pieces to come together smoothly. Any words of advice?

I'm busy completing lots of small projects for my gallery and for my open studio on December 13th, so I'll add a photo or two of some of those, without much chat.

Here a small piece of gorgeous fabric I made at my deconstructed screen printing workshop in late October, receivng some hand embroidery to enhance the marks made by the gradually dissolving dye. It will become a small square framed piece soon.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

More Printmaking at Bluseed

I'm in a bit of a printmaking frenzy, which I'll illustrate and explain over the next couple of weeks. My previous post was about deconstructed screen printing. Now I'm learning a whole new process.

Yesterday and today I am taking a workshop with my friend Katherine Levin-Lau in the printmaking studio at Bluseed in Saranac Lake. She is showing us how to make multicolor prints using the viscosity of inks progessively thinned with oil, so that a thinner layer of ink can be rolled over the thicker layers, one by one. Above is my first attempt, showing my drawing on the first layer of ink over my zinc plate. The ink is removed with q-tips mostly, along with a paint brush end and  rags.
Here is my second plate, with its second layer of ink, easily rolled over the first. I'm removing the excess yellow ink with a rag and then more q-tips.

Results posted here later, along with more of this process.

Friday, November 7, 2014

New Directions

My first experience with deconstructed screen printing. I took Kerr Grabowski's workshop at the Schweinfurth in Auburn, NY last week, and my work will probably never be the same! Above is one of my screens with dye and thickener ready to be pulled down the screen, along with part of a previous print just showing above. We printed mostly on cotton fabric but I did a few experiments on paper and sheer fabrics. Below is a different print on sheer silk organza, after several passes with the same screen. Love it!

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Goal Acheived

Over the winter, I joined a "visioning" group of other artists in Studio Art Quilt Associates. The best thing about joining this group is the necessity of goal-setting. And one of my goals for this year was to make a piece to submit to an art quilt exhibition. The image above is a detail from my large (for me) art quilt that was recently accepted into this year's juried Quilts Unlimited show at VIEW in OId Forge, NY. Another piece in my "bog and water" series was accepted as well. The hard work and focus is bringing rewards. Yaaayy!

Monday, September 1, 2014

SYNERGY: An Artistic Process

Oaxacan Doorway - small try-out
 LOTS of art work was made in my little cabin studio this summer! Many fabric collage pieces for the gallery, a large piece for submission to a juried quilt show, and many small pieces (4" by 4") like the one above as my friend Catharine and I worked on our own interpretations of our photos that we shared for several months. Catharine worked in watercolor; I made little fabric collages.

We finally choose four of the photographs and the resulting small experiments and larger (11" by 14") finished pieces for our exhibit as the September featured artists at our NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery. We decided at the very beginning of our work together that it would be a synergistic process and it truly was that. Now it is time to get everything on the wall for our opening on Friday, September 5th. We will include some of our sketchbook pages and other planning work as we made our decisions. The exhibit is called "Synergy: An Artistic Process." Below is a page from my book with the beginning of the little collage shown above, the original photo, and a sketch.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Designing with Valerie

I'm at Quilting by the Lake, an annual conference in Syracuse, NY that includes quilting, surface design, collage, and other topics. It's a great place to study with some terrific teachers and to work with some wonderful people. My workshop this week is a design class with Valerie Goodwin, who specializes in art quilt maps.

Since I never had a design class and I love Valerie's work, this is perfect. Above is one result from a series of exercises in design principles, using fabric collage, paint, sheer layers, and the design elements. All seven below, in stages of construction.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Studio Tour in Fernville

Here you see why I call this Fernville. Tomorrow - Sunday, July 20th - my little cabin in the woods will be open to visitors for our Artist at Work Studio Tour. The ferns have overtaken my chair while I worked to prepare for one of my favorite events of the year. And we'll have two more open studios in September.

If you come, you'll see my current fabric collage work. The tiny piece you see above with the the purple French knots is one of several that inspired the larger collage in the background. Come to see what happened next!

And I'll be demonstrating how I make the collages from start to finish.
Pick up a Studio Tour brochure at any Saranac Lake gallery or find it online. Or set your GPS to 140 Breezy Acres Lane, Saranac Lake and make your way up the dirt road to the little blue and green cabin in Fernville - NICHE Studio.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy Information Overload

On Friday I drove to Essex Junction, VT with Pat Pauly to view the Vermont Quilt Festival. The image above represents my experience there: loads of color, spectacular techniques, fresh ideas, and a lot happening all at once! (Apologies to the artist who made this masterpiece. We were about to leave and I forgot to photograph her tag. Love it!)

It was fun to go there with Pat. She pointed out many pieces, techniques, and artists I couldn't quite put into context because of my inexperience in this little universe of quilts. And when we left, she asked me how I would view the event if (or, more likely, when) I come again. A great question! I answered then and have thought about it since then. I would
  • Buzz through the entries quickly then go back and spend more time on a few favorites (usually in the contemporary abstract category).
  • Spend more time in the special exhibits area and attend more of the talks there. Loads to learn from the experts there.
  • Make a better shopping list before I go! Now that I know I can buy almost anything related to fiber art there, I'll know what to expect. I did pretty well though - found several things I want for the workshop I'm taking at QBL in a few weeks, including silks at this very inviting booth.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Red Lines on the Brown Dot

The Brown Dot is getting its embellishments on the shore of Keuka Lake. I think if we were not traveling so much this year, I would never have started and continued all this hand stitching. And it is so much fun!

Lots of small fabrics collages were completed on this trip too. They will be either matted or framed under UV glass, most for the Made in the Adirondacks festival in Blue Mountain Lake on July 19th.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Big Brown Dot

Taking one of my little business card size fabric collages and making a larger piece with the same design. What happens next?!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Showing Off

Showing Off

That's the name I chose for this new piece - "Showing Off." I realize now that maybe you think I'M showing off! Not really. It's this male Red-winged Blackbird who is showing off his red wing patches on his territory. In fact, using a new technique is often a lot of pleasure and a little fear, especially when it gets hung on a public wall immediately. It's headed to the Birds of a Feather Exhibit at the the Paul Smith's College VIC today.

Detail Showing Off
Detail : Showing Off
Since attending my first meeting of Studio Art Quilt Associates in early May, I am more resolved than ever to work hard at this relatively new art career of mine. My choice to work with fabric and images puts me into a category that is not exactly on everyone's radar. I (and my SAQA colleagues) see it as making fine art with a wonderfully rich and flexible medium. Others may view it as just messing around with quilts that didn't quite work out. Some of local exhibitions I have entered have prize categories that consist of Painting, Sculpture, and Photography. Not even a Mixed Media category. I am entirely left out of consideration.

Still, I have received recognition, including a recent Honorable Mention in one of the more prestigious juried art shows in our region for a fiber collage piece. And that has happened before. But I think it's time to expand the geographic area where I show my work. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to do that these days. And there are many generous artists who are willing to help.

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Bird, A Book, A Show

 I'm thinking about birds a lot. It's the season for that. On our recent trip, my husband took some bird photos that I love. This one - a Red-winged Blackbird - really grabbed me.

Then there's the annual Bird Art exhibit that is part of the Great Adirondack Birding Festival at the Paul Smith's College VIC the first weekend in June.

Mix those things up with Jean Wells' book - Journey to Inspired Art Quilting - that I have been exploring, and I have something to push me along with a new piece.

Stay tuned for how the bird fits in.

I also have to tell all my Adirondack buddies that we now have a greatly expanded selection of beautiful fabrics right here in Saranac Lake, at Beth Gallagher's Piece by Piece Studio. Go see for yourself!