Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Pink House 5th Anniversary Celebration

Here is my invitation to each wonderful person who has been a part of the success of my business during the past 5 years. Thank you!!!

If you have:

  • taken a Pink House class or workshop and have a piece you made here or made later from the techniques you learned, please submit it!
  • shown your work at the Pink House in one of my early exhibits, please submit a piece you showed or something similar!
  • bought art at the Pink House made by me or another artist, please submit it for temporary display!
This exhibit will not be juried and there are no fees - all submissions will be accepted. For that reason, please submit one piece only. I would like to have an image of the piece you plan to submit, so I can start planning the space. And also let me know if you want to try selling your piece or if it will not be for sale. I'm requesting a 15% commission on work that is sold. Plan on bringing or shipping your piece to me between August 24 and 28.

I plan to have this exhibit up for the month of September, with appropriate social distancing and face masks for visitors. There will not be a formal opening but I will choose a date on which I will open an online view of the exhibit and will post the hours when my gallery will be open.

If you can participate, please call (518-524-0533) or send an email (

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Avocado Dye Tutorial - AUGUST 2020

Here is a fun project for you to try as you stay home cooking, exploring, and entertaining yourself and your family. Did you know you can dye fabric with non-toxic avocado skins and pits?!
When I use an avocado, I scrape out all the pulp and save the skins and the pit. After making my guacamole, I scrub the skins and pits lightly with a kitchen sponge and put them in a plastic bag, which I then leave in my freezer. When I have saved at least 6 or more avocado skins and pits, I make some avocado dye. In this tutorial, I used the skins and pits of 8 avocados.
I put the frozen skins and pits into a large pot and cover them with water. I bring the water to a simmer and let it stay on the heat for about 1 hour. You can use the dye right away, but I usually let the pot sit overnight.

Strain out the skins and pits (which can go into your compost) and then in a colander with a cloth or towel to strain once more to remove any of the avocado flesh that is left in the liquid.

In this case, you can see that there was not very much flesh. I added my wetted fabric to the dye and added enough water to cover the cotton napkins I wanted to dye. You want to be sure the fabric can move freely in the dye.

At this point the dye is a rusty color but it will dye the fabric a pinky peach color in the end. Simmer the fabric in the dye  for about 1 hour and again leave it to sit overnight.
Next I drain the fabric and put it in the washing machine or a basin to rinse out the dye I and then spin it before putting it into the dryer. You can do all of this without the washer and dryer if you have a small amount of fabric.

Here are the finished dyed napkins, a nice pink color. You can get a deeper color by using more avocado skins and pits and/or leaving the fabric in the dye longer. Some dyers use the pits and skins separately and find the resulting colors are different. And because the skins and pits have high levels of tannin, the colors are fairly permanent and you can try other interesting experiments with resulting dyed fabrics. I'll expand on this in a future post.

Enjoy your projects with this lovely, easy dye. Please send photos to show me what you made! I'll share them here.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Spiraling Out

Spiraling Out, 2007
Recently I read Betsy Fram's blog in which she reviewed a book she found inspiring about a woman who recovered from a serious illness while restoring her practice of making and creating. It (and some other recent events) took me back to my own illness some years ago from which I felt quite impaired and hopeless about a recovery. 

Cognitive impairment was a big and horrible component of that illness (Epstein Barr Virus) for me. I could not read or use a computer, could not exercise, or even make a competent dinner or conversation. But I eventually was able to sit at my work table and play with my watercolors. It felt like I was able to accomplish at least something small some days.

The image of a spiral kept appearing to me, and I imagined spiraling out of that dark place back into the world. I made several small watercolor and pen paintings and eventually the larger piece above.

My climb out of that limited place was very slow and difficult, and certainly it didn't look dramatic to anyone else. It took longer than I had imagined. Even when I had more energy and abilities, I often experienced some of the cognitive impairment. 

The eventual result was a shift into a world of Art. I opened a gallery and studio, worked hard and happily on my art and on teaching art, and reached a place of huge fulfillment and satisfaction.

More importantly, I understood so many things about the difficulties of life for so many others. I learned about compassion. I learned about being less judgmental. I learned some important lessons. I'm grateful for all of it.

Did my art practice "cure" me? Who knows? If you are feeling lost, maybe it can help you find some small piece of yourself.

Monday, March 25, 2019

After Sundown

I'm working on a new Daily Practice habit. This has always been so rewarding and I need it now. I'm in Florida for another lovely week, and I'm bursting with creative ideas, so here goes. Many thanks to Jeannie, new friend and donator of the lovely batik stash.
My greatly cropped photo looking west on my street at that 
peachy-pink sky, with street lights.
My little sketch of the scene on the left; my beginning composition on the right. I'm trying out my newly-learned Improvisational Piecing technique, from Pat Pauly's workshop.
Pretty much done with the piecing, awaiting its machine quilting. 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Learn Something New!

I recently took a one day workshop with Pat Pauly on "Improvisational Piecing", along with members of the Tampa Bay Surface Design Guild. I have never taken a class on quilting techniques - I learned a lot!
 It began with Pat's directions on whacking fabric apart and putting it back together. Above is my start with my limited fabric supply.
 Part of the "skinny line" lecture.
One of my experiments in progress.
Another with a little botanical contact print.

I'll be putting all of this to good use!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Sparkling at Sparkle Village

Last weekend, I had a booth at our town's annual holiday craft, cutely called "Sparkle Village Craft Show." It was my first year as a vendor and it was loads of fun! And loads of work. I made dozens of new botanical print scarves, along with some other goodies. That stretch of hard and satisfying work got me into a good place - very excited and energized by what I do. Lots of learning and experimenting. And with a head full of what I want to do next, after a period of questioning what I do. I'm over that, at least for now. More work usually seems to fix those problems.
A basket full of pillows
A rack full of scarves
A table full of prints, cards, journals, and scarves

My favorite botanical print ever! Horse chestnut and smokebush leaves with cochineal and logwood dyes on a silk pillow cover.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

What Does Tannin Do?

I've been eco printing on all kinds of fabrics and papers for awhile now. And the more I learn, the more I realize that using mordants can make a huge difference in the results, especially when printing on cotton, linen, and other cellulose fibers.

To that end, I'm doing experiments of my own to see what I can learn. And I want to share them with you.
Set 1 - Six fabrics, three plants species
Iron blanket on left sample, made with paper towels.

All the bundles after simmering for 2 hours.
Two printed samples
I made 3 sets of fabric samples. After drying everything, I'll lay them out and compare my treatments. Stay tuned!