Friday, February 15, 2019


I seem drawn to hidden things--tiny bugs camouflaged in bark, a shadow at the bottom of the pond, or those secret dark spaces surrounded by green on a far away hill or almost overgrown with grass on the edge of a field. As I neared the end of that very large Explorations project, I knew I should plan for another piece. I needed something that would entice me back into the studio and get those curiosity juices flowing again after I took the final stitches on "From the Stillness." I had another large piece in my heavily textured technique that I had begun many months ago but that would be no enticement. This must be a smallish piece so that the gratification of my curiosity would be much faster.

I played with sketches and liked the idea of an unfolding, an opening around a dark focal point. And I wanted to work with purple. And here is "Lotus," 13 x 13 inches, made from cottons and lots of silks that I dyed and finished with the glimmer of a small purple stone.

Hope you are finding lots of things to be curious about this week!

Linked with Off the Wall Fridays.

Friday, February 8, 2019


After the holidays I managed to cross paths with a cold bug that laid me low for what seemed like an endless session of coughing and nose blowing. Since I was not up to my usual elaborately plotted novel as bedtime reading, I tried a book I had bought on a recommendation I read somewhere, The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair.

It was the perfect option, although I probably would have loved it whenever I got around to picking it up. But these brief two or three page snippets about a particular shade in a color family were the right length for my attention span between coughing spells. And it is full of actual colors as the edges of the pages subtly change from ultramarine to cobalt to indigo to Prussian blue.

The book looks at color from a variety of perspectives--from some descriptions of the actual chemical processes that produced a hue, with sometimes lethal side effects for those who created them or those who used them (lead seems to show up too often as a crucial element in color production) to how colors were named or used to attempts at capturing their essence (Kandinsky: "Orange is like a man, convinced of his own powers.") And all the human emotions are here as well, from delight to greed. One amusing story from the 13th century describes how the folks who sold madder, which produced a red dye, were feeling threatened by the rising popularity of woad, a plant in the indigo family that produced a blue color. The madder merchants somehow convinced the stained glass makers to help them undercut this upstart blue by making the devils in stained glass windows blue and hoped guilt by association would do the trick. Their ploy did not work. Woad kept gaining in popularity until another indigo plant that was processed more easily was discovered. 

I highly recommend this book, particularly when you need a distraction from an annoying cold--or from annoying news you can't get out of your head.

And then there is the distraction of color itself. An order of perle cotton arrived and a pile of glorious color sat on my cutting table for a while, warming my soul every time I wandered into the studio with a box of tissues.

Linked with Off the Wall Friday

Friday, February 1, 2019


Since I have embarked on a heavily textured piece that will involve months of work, it was time to explore some smaller pieces and add a few pieces to my raw edge applique series. A pile of red fabrics caught my eye for the background and I somewhat arbitrarily cut a rectangle about 8 x 11 inches and hung it up on the design wall to see what the next step would be. 

Since I was feeling adventurous, I cut a rectangle from a nearby golden orange piece of fabric and liked the glow it created. My traditional stitching that echoes the outline of the piece seemed too tame for this and so I began looking for something unstructured. 

And here is Etude 2, a warming presence in my studio:

It measures all of 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches and uses three different hand stitches as well as some machine stitching in the background.

Linked with Off the Wall Fridays.