Sunday, April 6, 2014

Word Watching

Paul Kingsnorth in his Orion article "In the Black Chamber" quotes Aldous Huxley:

"Reality as actually experienced contains intuitions of value and significance, contains love, beauty, mystical ecstasy, intimations of godhead.  Science did not and still does not possess intellectual instruments with which  to deal with these aspects of reality. Consequently it ignored them and concentrated its attention upon such aspects of the world as it could deal with . . . . In  the arts, in philosophy, in religion men are trying--doubtless, without complete success--to describe and explain the non-measurable, purely qualitative aspects of reality."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What's in a Name?

The latest in my scrunched series that plays with heavy texture is an attempt to push the limits of what I could do with this technique--can I make sharp curves with these scrunchings? And here is the answer:

I was obviously playing around with letting some of the background show as well.  But I was also very aware, as I was stitching these rows down by hand, how the various shapes were influencing each other--from the triangle-ish piece in the center left to the twists and turns of the others that encircle it.  It is a small piece, about 14 inches square.

Naming a finished a work is often a fun part of the process, although I sometimes begin with a  name in mind.  But the naming process for this one is dragging on. "Influence" was an immediate favorite until I was looking at the piece a couple of days later and "Aura" popped into my head.  Although "Influence" certainly conveys one of the main themes of the piece for me, it is a bit pedestrian. "Aura" is a more resonant word but is also a bit more restrictive in its connotations. Then today, I added "Connotations" to the list and that became the favorite for a good part of the afternoon, but I keep waffling among the three. Any thoughts?

And, even if you don't care what name I give it, thanks for the company!

Check out what's happening at Off the Wall Friday!

Friday, February 14, 2014

All For Love

Ah, yes! It's Valentine's Day again, a time when I give my husband a small piece of the work I do, that may or may not be successful, as well as an interesting meal, that I hope is more consistently successful. With all the water that figures so prominently in our new home/life, it is not surprising that water images keep showing up as I visualize future quilts so I thought I would give Tom a walk on the beach, one of our favorite places we escape to when all this relocating stuff gets to be too much.  And I used my scrunched fabric technique because it captures that unpredictable/predictable way water moves.

This is more straightforward than many of my quilts, just playing with color and line but clearly suggesting ocean, which of course is endlessly symbolic in itself. It's only about 6 x 9", made from my hand-dyes (there's a story about the brown that I will save for another time), and hand-stitched with perle cotton except for the machine quilting at the bottom and top.

Hope you have spent at least part of your day with those you love!

And check out what's posted on Off the Wall Fridays!

Friday, January 24, 2014


One of the nice things about falling in love with a new technique is that it can keep you going even when there are a thousand delightful distractions like long conversations with our grown children, reading and rereading a new book with a grandchild, deciding on how to replace an old bathroom vanity top with something that suits us, walking on the beach with an enthusiastic Golden Doodle. Even as the holidays sped by, I kept working on a small piece that used my scrunched texture technique combined with untextured bits on top of the scrunching.
"Beyond" is 7 x 10 inches and made of various hand-dyes hand-stitched to batting and backing with perle cotton. 

And thanks for the company on this brief ramble!

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Snow falling has that mesmerizing effect, that pull toward contemplation, that makes us think of newness, beginning again, the possibility of real change, and with blizzard conditions approaching our Massachusetts home, there is plenty of snow to watch.

Add the fact that it is the second day of the new year and I begin to search for pencil and paper to write down some resolutions.

But I don't often do well with resolutions:

I will spend more time with friends and family
I will spend more quiet time in my studio.

I will take my work more seriously
I will laugh more often.

I will post more regularly on my blog
I will spend less time on the computer and more time on my work.

I will believe in myself
I will question myself.

I could go on. My resolutions often take the form of paradoxes and I become like someone trying to walk in two directions at once. But no matter how absurd or antithetical the two parts of a paradox become, according to the classic definition of the word, it can suggest a truth. And so perhaps my best resolutions on this snowy second of January 2014 are not to ignore all the contradictions and seeming impossibilities of my life but to see where they can lead me--and to keep the bird feeder filled.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Photo Doodles

Our snow is melting but has not lost the ability to delight:

Warm solstice wishes to you all!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Had to Find Time to Do It

What a joy to take these beauties out of the washing machine on a cold, gray, wintry day!

It had snowed two days before--just a couple of inches but enough to call it the first real snow of the season and I realized I had to seize the moment before the sun melted it. I prepared the fabric but when I found a place that had enough snow to scoop up I realized this was the light, fluffy stuff, the kind that did not usually produce the typical petal patterns I love. So I created an experiment--the green/blue one was covered with the fluffy snow and the purple one got snow from the car windshields that had melted and refrozen a bit so that it packed better. And you can see the difference: while I will easily find a use for the first one, the purple one is definitely more dramatic and petal-ly.

Of course, neither had just one color. The top one had very dark green, with a bit of gold, strong navy, azure and better black added. The purple one had, of course, purple with added bits of gold, azure and better black. I mixed a new batch of purple (and this may of skewed the results, but I don't think so) but all the rest were old dyes that I needed to use up.

Definitely worth taking time out to do this! I am two yards of fabric richer for doing it.