Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lady of the House

This is the calligraphy piece I made for the back of the frame.

In the box

Out of the box

Here is the gift for my boss' 60th birthday. She has many birds and keeps Lady Gouldian Finches. I hope she likes it. I've mounted it in a shadow box (size 8x10) the piece itself is more like 6"x8". It was fun; It's hand beaded & I painted the 'tree' as well. Originally; I was going to fuse fabric on for the tree; but in my haste; I had all ready beaded the leg & foot so trying to fuse fabric around that was out... The painting didn't turn out awful though I'm a self admitted 'non-painterly' person. (too messy for me)

Hope she likes it!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


This memory quilt was commissioned by a gal for her best friend. The mom passed away October 1 of this year. Our mutual hairdresser put her in touch with me to make a quilt out of the mom's clothing. After meeting with the daughter and learning more about the mom; I came up with this design. It's still a memory quilt in the sense that the border was created out of the fabrics from her clothes with a few brighter scraps from my stash. But it turned more into an art quilt in the middle :) She was a hippie of the 60's; loved dragonflies; flowers and frogs along with peace signs.

The dragonfly on the front was created out of the dress she wore to her daughter's wedding. I stitched the wing membranes in metallic opalescent threads & couched the silver frizze yarn as well as the multii-colored frizze yarns on the dragonfly. The frog is out of some great batik. The size is 56"long x 45"wide. The backing fabric was cut from a large backdrop fabric that was used at her 60th birthday. I quilted it from the back so the dragonfly appears to be crossing the moon of the peace sign from the front. The song "Moondance" kept playing in my head so that's what I've entitled it.

The poem that the family shared was 'I wish you enough' and I wrote the versus of that poem on the denim strips around the border in sharpie marker.

Her friend picked up the quilt tonight and was thrilled. I can't wait to hear how the daughter likes it. I agreed to keep the clothing for a couple months in case any of her family members want one also.

**Part Two**

The gal that commissioned Moondance liked it so well she had me design a quilt for her neice. Very simple design incorporating the flag t-shirt that she wore to all this neice's softball games.

The quilt measures 4'H x 43"W. The quilt back was made entirely from a fleece jacket the woman wore on camping trips. It had special sigificance for this family member so I wanted to keep it tact as much as possible. I had to use fusible interfacing on each peice and resew it back together leaving the buttoned up sections joined.

She also requested 4 separate pillows 20" each. for additional family members. The Scooby fabric was required so for each pillow I tried to make them somewhat color coordiated. On the back she requested I write a saying for each person & include their name and use the 'tye dye' flag material we had left over from the back of her quilt.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

New Beaded Dragon

As always; starting with 'storyboard' Dragon is 16" H x 10" W. He will be placed as an off-center motif in a larger wall quilt that I'm still designing. In the storyboard you see the scales behind his head; those are being made individually out of orange/red silk and will be 3-D. I have other silk & some beautiful heavy brocaide tapestery fabric that will finish the 'frame'. I've had much fun beading him and will be adding more of the peacock scales (sequins) around his jaw area to bring that color out. And yes; each bead (and or sequin) is sewn on by hand one bead at a time.

The teeth were hand sculpted with sculpey. I 'scored' them to give them more reality. Then played with painting them to match the gold beads.

Ellen's close up shots are the bomb!

Those sequins that are black with the stars are halographic. I hand cut each one from a circle to the 'eye' shape you see then hand hole punch an additional hole to secure both ends.

The bead that started it all: The eye. For mother's day this year Ellen surprised me with a trip to the bead store. On limited funds of my own I passed over this bead and when we got home Ellen presented it to me. She had paid for it out of her own money. My daughter is the best! (A plethera of other words come to mind but that will suffice)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hellooooo Houston!

Journal Quilt 2008 17" x 22" are up in Houston which means I can now share my entry that was juried in with you! Out of nearly 200; only 36 were taken & you can believe me; I feel incredibly honored by my entries inclusion.

The theme was 'Elements'. I chose water and did an interpretation of recycling to save our wonderous wetlands. Here's my artist statement:

This quilt was inspired by my passion to conserve our natural wetlands. The materials used consist of recycled flower bouquet wrappers that are plastic. I won’t go into detail about the irony of wrapping something natural and beautiful like flowers in something that will ultimately destroy what is natural and beautiful like our wildlife. The flamingoes themselves are plastic drink stirrers. The buttons are plastic as well as some of the filaments in the decorative yarns.

I created this piece one Sunday morning with my 15 year old daughter Ellen. I had taken the fabric and cut it up and inverted the colors to give the best contrast and ‘pop’ the design. I then laid the flamingoes down & played with the ‘organic’ placement of the decorative fibers. I wanted to go with beads (my other passion) but Ellen assured me that what it needed was some of her beloved plastic button collection. So while she bent over the work table intent on placement and color of the buttons; I was able to stand there and be intent on watching her, in the soft morning light, hair strands falling gently following the curve of her face.

What will we be leaving our children? Something lasting or something shiny and plastic that will ultimately fail and pale by comparison to the beauty and grandeur that is the natural world?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Baby Blankets

These were easy, fast & fun! The backs are solid flannel. Tops are primarily cotton with one or two smaller squares that are flannel. The cat one came as a kit that I eliminated the 'minky' tourquoise & replaced with the batik; the Pooh Bear I had to create as there is no 'girl' Pooh Bear stuff; to which I say 'Duh!" all the characters are male except for the shallowly formed Kanga. Nothing against Pooh; Tigger is my favorite! The cat one is for my hairdressers new daughter Sadie; the Pooh Bear was commissioned by a co-worker.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Round Robin Art Journals

First theme was "Keys to an Artful Life?" My the page on the left has a piece of paper that I used my flat edged calligrahpic nib to enscribe the single word "Leap" as in: taking a leap of faith in your art. Just go for it and trust it will happen the way it should. The page on the right is about "Giving birth to yourself" so I used my silk cocoons & painted them & then added beads & various materials & sequins for glitz.

This theme explored the "Gypsy theory" So I created a page on the right to depict the Gypsy in your soul using a musical motif. The script on the left page was done on vellum with a simple round point calligrahpic pen. I'm not fond of that nib but it worked well here. The flowers were from my garden years ago that I had pressed & long forgot in some waxed paper. The beauty of these little books is rediscovering all the little 'treasures' you've found or kept along the way of your journey. Giving them new meaning and a new life by giving them to someone else.

These theme was about 'play' or finding your inner child. The first phrase that came to my mind was "Say Say oh playmate" . The pictures are of me as a child. I don't have many of those and these are quite fun. The page on the right is me singing the rhyme with my dress spread out calling for my friends to come play with me. I like the image reversal of the dress shape to the butterfly shape. The button flowers were fun to do. The page at left is about riding fast to catch your dreams. The dream catcher was a found item that needed a little tlc of glue but worked beautifully with the colors. The little 'medicine bag' I made out of the end of a silk tie from Italy. I left the tag that say's 'hand made' and added the saying I made up and wrote on the vellum sheet. The washer on the bottom of the bag say's 'dream'.

I'll post more shots as the months go on. There are eight of us participating. I have had the pleasure of seeing my own journal as each of my friends create something in it using my theme and it's simply gorgeous! What a treasure itself will be that I shall keep always and forever!

Here is the latest installment to the round robin journal books. This person's theme was 'shapes & colors' . I had these old silk neckties (many more than just these two believe me!) and wanted to do something graphic. I like the shapes & colors. I didn't stay with just one shape or color but I think she'll like them. It was fun doing the handwork. The blue/black & white one was easier that the rust one because I found my fuseable interfacing to stablize the silk! These were fun & easy; not too much beading; or embroidery; just wanted the colors & shapes to do the 'talking'.

Theme: Little Things

One of my favorite "little things" would have to be the Praying Manits. I find these insects fascinating and so chose them for my friends journal book. (I asked her first if wanted insects in her book and she too loves the Mantis family)

I started out with a photo that my daughter took (at my request) of a young mantid in our yard. I had been watering and this creature was looking for respite from my overactive hosing technique. It's not the clearest photo she got but it was the orientation of the body that I wanted. I then placed it on the page & simply filled out with pen around the edges the ends of the plants & sticks. I then attempted to watercolor it. (I say attempted because I've no formal training in this art and really just sort of do trial & error)

Next page were just some interesting facts I discovered about the Mantid family printed on vellum laid over floral paper stitched edges down and glued the ribbon trim over the seams. My machine doesn't like sewing through paper apparently & the tension was wonky so I simply covered up the unsightly seams.

Here's the following pages showing the 'flower mantids'. These insects bodies resemble the flowers or plants which they inhabit and they are stunning!!! Check it out:

Pink Flower Mantis Devil's Flower Mantis

I mean seriously The Devil's Flower Mantis? Check out those wickedly cool antenna!

On the pink flower shots I simply printed those out on paper; sewed them to the piece of silk right through the batting and paper. The cone flowers were fused on. the decorative threads/yarn were laid underneath prior to sewing.

The Devil's Mantis is mounted on painted wonder under. Directly underneath him/her is something really funny. When I redid my sewing room I took my wheeled chair out of the room and then noticed the wheels not really rotating very well. Lo and behold, each wheel was clogged with so much thread scrap I could hardly believe it. Being the weirdo I am; after cutting the globs off each wheel, I kept them in a baggie. I thought they looked cool & could be used for all kinds of stuff I was sure. (birds nest first came to mind) Anyhow; I just took some out of the baggie & glued them down around the paper photo. The background is rubber stamped and then lightly water colored over.

I know we're supposed to do only two pages per journal book but come on with subject matter this cool; these stars really warranted four.

Next theme: "What If?"

I had such a hard time with this theme. I couldn't imagine any 'what if' that was not cliched or hadn't all ready been thought of. I even cheated & googled 'what if' and found all kinds of what I would consider 'situational' what ifs... mostly dealing with morality questions. So that didn't work for me. I even went to who I consider to be the "King of Cool" of what ifs, Neil Gaiman. Well, he was all ready using all his really cool 'what ifs' in his best selling books & graphic novels. I was hoping for a scrap left dangling somewhere on his website journal, no luck. FINE. Finally, (ironically on the subject of morality) I imagined God admitting he/she had made mistakes. Not the 'what the hell is a platypus?' kind of mistake but something more profound. I decided I couldn't get that 'deep' in two pages & I had all ready exceeded my 'page extension' on the prior book so.... I went with something funny. Well, I think it's funny. El just said I was 'so weird' & my theory 'was wrong' (my Science/Math major telling me why rainbows can't be upside down), I simply took the mature approach & after sticking my tongue out at her I sniffed my nose up in the air and harrumphed my way into my sewing room in silence. *inner dialogue: so what if water mimics the curve of the earth or whatever, the title is WHAT IF anyway, I can do whatever I want*

Here's the result: More attempts at watercolor because I knew there would be writing involved & I didn't' want the headache of what fabric to use that wouldn't bleed the ink; and would still be able to 'create the scene' and not be too obnoxious.

The saying is as follows:

What if rainbows were God's way of apologising for putting our eyeballs in upside down?
If our eyeballs were right side up; rainbows would be in the shape of a smile instead of a frown
we could slide down into the rainbow until we were awash in Indigo
would our clothes then taste like grape?

What if God admitted to making mistakes?

As this isn't too philosophical; I used the title "God" instead of the more politically correct 'creator' or 'insert Deity of your choice'. Please make no judgement about the authors spiritual orientation based on this, it was simply a matter of generality.

The final round robin book; the theme was Travel.
Where have you been? Where would you like to go?

At first my thoughts were of the ocean. I've dunked my tootisies in a few. But that idea quickly became too unwieldy for just two small pages.

So I decided to think about where I would like to go on terra firma; and the thought struck me as funny; we spend thousands (millions globally) to travel to exotic destinations; for fun, relaxation & enlightenment. The last one I focused on. All those lenghthy (and quite expensive I assure you) pilgrimages to travel to places where money has no meaning or value. I don't know the physical costs to travel to the Himalaya's but I'd love to go if it meant seeing a Snow Leopard. Likewise; rolling around some spit of an island where what you could make was the cost of what you wanted. I read that the key to happiness was to 'give away that which you most desire';

but none of our neighborhood kids wanted my Ben&Jerry's Cherry Garcia.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Long Beach Quilt Festival 2008


Journal Quilt 2007

Journal Quilt 2005 (it was nice to see it again!)

Here's some shots of my work at festival. It was so amazing to see it all hanging so beautifully!

Last but not least; The Carousel. The quilt measures 5' x 5'. Each animal is 3 feet tall & 12 inches wide.

Group project from left to right: Artists are Cindy Cooksey(Rabbit) ; Julie Schlueter (Zebra); Me (Horse); Vickie Valdez-Green(Lion); Terry Waldron (Giraffe).

Here's the full story:

When our Cutloose group was presented with the idea of doing one or more group quilts for the Long Beach Exhibit; I had kicked around many designs. I knew I wanted to do something that would represent the famous Long Beach Pier and in particular the Cyclone racer! I worked hard on several designs for that and in the end, threw in a last minute ‘dark horse’ with a pop-art rendition of the Charles Looff carousel. At our next meeting; all designs were placed on the table & before it was even made ‘official’ about which quilt we would do or which artists would be participating in which design; 4 had all ready had their favorite ‘animal’ and were bantering around color schemes and embellishments.

I took the design home and created full size renditions of each animal on freezer paper to give to each artist along with the background fabric we had chosen that would unify the quilt. We completed our respective animals using only the top fabric & batting. We had decided not to back the quilt until all the pieces had been assembled. We would meet as a group once a month to see progress; check color schemes and animal orientation. Once the animals were completed; they were all returned to me to assemble & once that was done we finalized a top design and fabric choice for it. This top section was the longest process and the most challenging. Finally; finishing touches were added via the ribbons for each animal; the novelty trim; & shading with tulle. The binding is a continuous double fold bias.


Cindy Cooksey’s rabbit sports a lovely red velvet vest adorned with colorful buttons and exceptional cross hatching embroidery. He is outlined with silk that was hand dyed by Cindy to match his gorgeous ‘skin’ fabric. He is both playful & charming.

Julie Schlueter’s Zebra prefers the more ‘au natural’ approach. The head is hand beaded as well as the eye. Julie’s fabric choice for the stripes gives a bold contrast that still plays well with the other animals. Her signature machine quilting incorporates such a fun, graphic element to the overall design.

Stacy Hurt’s horse prefers an almost counter-culture approach. His loose, long mane flies with wild abandon. The feathers appear to be tattooed up his neck; front legs & forehead. His bridle was pieced and fused on and the medallion was an original design created and hand beaded just for him by Stacy.

Vicki Valdez-Green’s lion is a show stopper. He is formal and ferocious without being the least bit frightening. The wonderful coloring for his mane compliments his dusky appearance. His eye and mouth were hand painted by Vickie who then signed her name in the iris of his eye! His beautiful fleur-de-leis tail design gives him such a regal touch.

Terry Waldron’s giraffe sports stuffed, felted horns as well as some innovative hand embroidery details around the face & neck. His mane was machine stitched and the material gives a nice fuzzy appearance. He sports a very dashing sash that is actually 3 sections of novelty trim sewn together. They enhance his lovely spots perfectly!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Afternoon Sun

As new works come back from shows & are put back into the 'stable' as it were, it gives me the opportuntiy to share them on my blog.
'Afternoon Sun' will not be travelling further. It is currently being 'auditioned' however, at a friends house to see if she wants to keep it.

I liked making this piece and my favorite part was the narrow 'bookmark' insert actually. It is hand beaded and embellished on fusible tyvek. (can you say bloody fingers?) This piece I think represents my first major move from what I was doing into the more elegant Asian aesthetic. (not that I have arrived there by any means) It's very hard sometimes to keep the dicipline of 'less is more' and just place the single element without trying to 'express' each nuance in the work and over doing it.

The tree is commerical batik fabric fused on; overstitched with rayon; metallic & cotton threads. It was lots of fun adding drama with that bright copper metallic thread into the tree bark. There are fancy yarns couched into the background parts of the tree. The sun rays were created with narrow strips of pale yellow tulle; they are held in place by tiny clear fully cupped sequins.