Saturday, April 19, 2014

Teaching Schedule Updated- May Classes In Virginia

Please check the "Teaching Schedule" tab to find out about my May classes in Alexandria Virginia at Artistic Artifacts.
I'm excited to be teaching a few classes this summer and hope that you will join me!

I'll be teaching the ever popular Bound By Heart, Made By Hand book class. Everyone is always so excited about the books that they make in this class,
It has started more than one addiction to book making...

Also on the schedule is a Reverse Applique Fingerless Glove class (what a mouthful!). This is an easy, yet oh so beautiful (mostly) hand stitching class. You will leave with the most beautiful pair of fingerless gloves you have ever had!
Class includes instruction in hand stitching, beading, reverse applique along with thermofax screen printing.

The last workshop is the Quarterly Journal Dress (published in the Feb-Mar 2013 issue of Quilting Arts magazine).
 We will create a dress inspired by an antique christening gown and learn to turn vintage (and other) papers into fabric collage sheets, tricks to stitching on paper and how to use acrylic mediums to your advantage.

Check out the Artistic Artifacts website for more details or email them at

These are all post SAQA events. I do hope that those of you that are in town for that event will stay over for more play with us!
Book your spot before the classes all fill up!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Modern Hand Stitching

My friend, Ruth Chandler, has a new book on the market.

"Modern Hand Stitching" is a great primer to ditching the tedious, perfectly reproduced (yet beautiful) embroidery of yesterday and allowing your creative muse to take over!

The table of contents is broken down into six different categories of stitches from the embroidery dictionary.

Straight stitches, Building Stitches, Cross Stitches, Knots, Chain Stitches and Couching & Wrapping.

Ruth has included tutorials on 38 stitches from the embroidery dictionary.There are step by step photos illustrating the traditional way to create each stitch.
Then she offers a plethora of free-form variations for each one, often showing completed pieces of artwork to showcase the stitch or combination of stitches.

While I do think that experienced hand stitchers will benefit from this book, it's the person that is wanting to approach free form stitching that will really get the most bang for the buck.
It's full of "food for thought" to get your muse up and running.

Check it out here and be sure to leave a review on Amazon after you receive it!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Love Affairs

As women, we have many love affairs in our lives.

You haven't?

Oh but you have, my friends!

Let's not limit ourselves to love affairs with people in this conversation, shall we?
Think of all that you love - reading, drawing, painting, sewing, gardening, writing, our female friends...we have a multitude of things that we love, that we share a passion for.

One of mine is sewing.
I have sewn since I was a young girl. My mom taught me to sew when I was, oh maybe 7 or 8.
I did create a few doll dresses by hand before that (albeit crude ones).
I loved them though.
They actually laid the foundation for a fire that has burned for decades (she said demurely) and is still flaming today.

The love of creating something beautiful.
The love of creating with my hands.
The love of creating.

It is difficult for me to allow a couple of days to pass without puttering around in my studio.
It may be on seemingly mundane tasks but they fall within the realm of "creating".

I have made a few pieces of apparel through the years and always had the desire to make more.
What held me back, you ask?
Skill, single-mindedness, level of name a few.
The biggest one was an early failure.

But I have continued to purchase patterns in a sporadic manner throughout the years, fantasizing about the next shirt I sew or the beautiful lines of a dress.
Just to have the pattern sit there, collecting dust (and my guilt).

The last few weeks have changed all of that!
I signed up for a FANTASTIC Craftsy class that reset my brain in regards to making clothing.

If you have any interest in  making a shirt for yourself (a knit one) you MUST take this class!
(I do not receive any compensation from Craftsy)

Katheryn and Marcy Tilton are such wonderful teachers!
You receive a pattern with your class fee and they walk you through, step by step, the entire project.
You can ask questions in the class format and they answer them within a day or two.
Their instruction assisted me in creating a sample tee (I used the first shirt as a sample to learn new techniques and not worry about making it "perfect")
(who am I kidding - none of my projects will be "perfect" but they will be close enough for me!)

I found a Groupon deal for the Craftsy site.
You can purchase up to three classes for $45.
Again, I do not receive and compensation if you purchase anything. I'm just passing on a good deal.
Which, by the way, does not last much longer.
The regular retail price is $50 for the class, so this is a great deal.

I don't have any photos of my finished shirts but I do have a sketchbook page showing how I decided which fabrics to use.

The Tilton sisters often use three (or more) fabrics on each shirt. I love this idea and fully embraced it when making my shirts.
But I couldn't decide which fabrics to use (or remember them after I auditioned numerous ones) so this way worked great for me.

The pattern is for a shirt length top but I added more length to one of mine making it tunic length. The one on my machine now is long enough to be a dress.

I am really enjoying making a few items of clothing this time around thanks to Marcy and Katherine Tilton (and Craftsy).

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Allowing Nature To Have Her Say

I've had a few emails inquiring if I am okay since I haven't blogged much lately.

I want to say "Oh yes, I am fine!" but truth is -

I'm not.

I've got a bad case of the winter blahs...I'm ready to be playing around outside, aren't you?

I did go on a short bike ride (about 18 miles) with my husband this week.

I also went sledding with him and a few friends (and family members) in the great snow that we had.
And wasn't it wonderful to see 8-10 inches of snow in upstate SC??
I loved it!

I've been reading a lot (mostly in my Kindle).

Watching movies.

Moving supplies around on my studio table.

Looking at patterns (apparel!).
I am going to try to stitch up a few pieces of clothing.
I haven't sewn apparel in years (with the exception of fingerless gloves and scarves) and am itching to get started. I thought that I would start with a simple knit tee shirt.

What I would LOVE to have is a sewing group to bounce questions off of...
Any takers?
Maybe I'll search for one or create my own.
Email me (or comment below) if you're interested in being a part of a group like that.
It would be so much fun to sew the same thing together!

I must say that just jumped out of my fingers onto the "page". I never intended to broach that but now that it's out there- it sounds good.

I have done a little tiny bit of art work...teeny tiny bit for sure.
I've created a sample book for a project that I am putting off doing.

You can also see the turtle shell full of buttons
that I made from shed deer antlers.
Oh, and the sample (duct tape) book.

Yep, that same project that I have written about before.
I have completed reinforcing the spine of the signatures and punched the stitching holes.

I figured out the closure and I LOVE it! I can't wait to see if it is going to work the way I hope it does.
I've got the cover completed and just need to tweak one little thing before I attach it (after the signatures are in).

Tonight (or tomorrow) I am going to stitch the signatures in.
I am, I promise!

Here's a sampling of the pages just waiting to go in.

Here's a peek or two of the rusty threads, fiber, and cloth on the cover.
The cloth that is not rusted is naturally dyed.

I've allowed Nature to have her say on this one.

There you have it - a quick synopsis of the past few weeks.
Without all of the hot tea, coffee and chocolate of course...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunrise In The Studio

I had to run and grab my camera this morning when I walked into my studio.

The sunrise was spectacular!

I have a small stained glass piece hanging in my window that I made years ago.
It depicts a sunrise with the sky above it and land/water below it.

I was totally surprised when the rising sun lit the panels up to make it really look that way.
Now you can be amazed as well, since I took pictures of it as it happened.

Here comes the sun...
You can see the tail feather of a bird mobile that I have
hanging in my window.
This really shows the beautiful movement in the piece of glass
that I chose for this panel.
 I love the way that the sun is illuminating the glass.

I thought this looked the same way that water does
when the sun ripples off of waves (the lower left panel
with the sun behind it).

The illumination of this glass is truly spectacular.
(excuse the line on the right-hand side- it's the cord from the blinds)

Amazing how the sun is right at the sun on the glass!

I might get up early just to see this every morning.

 I have always enjoyed the sunrise from this window but I've never seen it through the stained glass panel this way. You can be sure that I will notice it from now on.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Closed Doors vs Open Ones

Wow, I can't believe that I haven't posted since December!
I have been crazy busy, purging my studio and home, writing two articles for publication later this year and resting.
All of which are very important, including resting when you know that you need it.

I have a post up on the "8 That Create" blog today.

I'll copy it below for your viewing pleasure.

I'll do my best to post again real soon...

Closed Doors vs Open Ones

I don't know about all of you but after I have a big push to reach deadlines, I have to take a break.

Literally I have nothing to offer.

I  just completed two articles for the same publication (with only two weeks to write them both) (my own schedule blocked me into that corner) and I am so very wrung out.
I feel like I couldn't come up with one bit of inspiration at the moment.

But I still crave the daily creative activity that I am used to.

What is a girl to do?

I read for a couple of days or at least until my vision was blurred.
Then I watched a couple of good movies followed by a couple of really bad ones.

But I couldn't sit still much longer and not do something.
What I really wanted to do was draw or work in my art journal.

I don't know if you can really call one of the handmade books that I write/draw/collage in an "art journal" but I guess that's the best description at the moment.
Sometimes it feels like an "art" journal but other times it feels more like a regular journal.

It's a huge book that I made in a workshop that I took a few years ago.

I certainly learned my lesson there about making Big Books.

I prefer the smaller ones that I can complete easily or the "theme" book that I can carry on trips with me.

I have a "Colorado" book that I work in while I am visiting friends and teaching there.

I also have a "Charleston" book that I carry when my husband and I venture to The Holy City.
I used a printed copy of a rich beautiful painting by Robert Henri called "The Green Fan (Girl of Toledo, Spain)" that is owned by Gibbs Art Museum in Charleston, SC
One of my favorite paintings.
She stands 41 inches tall
and commands any room that she is in.

My Charleston Book (aka Book of the Holy City).
"The Green Fan (Girl of Toledo, Spain)"
Robert Henri

Having a book like that makes it really simple to decide what to carry with me when I travel.

But back to the Big Book.

She is almost six inches thick, holds a lot of pages and even more words and drawings.
Lots of room for random mark making.
I turn to her pages when I have that desire to draw (or write) and have no idea or concern for the outcome.

I opened her up yesterday morning, grabbed a couple of pens and set to work (while watching one of those bad movies).

Here's a sampling of the pages that I marked up.

A colorful owl that started out as a curved doodle.

I had stitched a doily/sun shape into my page
before I stitched the signature into my book.
Yesterday I journaled deep, dark secrets on the page.

Ah, more secrets.
I'd have to kill you if you read them.

Ideas for simple, yet engaging journal doodles.

You can see the progression in this page.
I love adding the tiny details to finish the doodle drawings up.
I'll go back in later and add journaling.

I also add in single pages with ideas for thermofax screens.

More blurring to make you wonder why I have
so many deep dark secrets.
Most of it is aimless pondering of a bored woman.
Like this one -
"We never consider death before it considers us"
"Dead men do tell tales albeit quietly".
I am a fountain (a deep one) of thoughts.

So you can see that I have an expanse of fertile ground on which to practice my trade.
In other words- I have a big ass book that I draw and write in.

The Muse may be out at the moment but at least I left the door open for her.

Do you find that you close the door completely or do you leave the door open for ideas to flow back in?

You gotta leave room for the entry of creative ideas.
You also need to spend time with these ideas every day.
If you keep showing up and opening that door, they will show show up as well.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Providing Space For Possibility

(this is a simultaneous post on the "8 That Create" blog)

I've been thinking a lot about that lately, providing space for possibility.

Carol here, opening a discussion on how we can open up a space for possibility.

I am smack dab in the middle of a huge purge and reorganization of my home.

It started out innocently enough with me wanting to clean out my studio.
It was cluttered, packed with useless ("I might need that one day") items that are easily accessible.

Why keep all of these things in my studio when I can pick them up locally for a few coins when I need them?
I understand that I need some of them  in front of me for inspiration but I was/am sick to death of a packed, cluttered work space!
When I am in the middle of a project (or two), my work table is always cluttered - but with purpose.
And that type of clutter is easily dealt with after a project is completed.

It's the ever present clutter that haunts me.

I truly believe that it inhibits creativity and restricts inner vision.

In short, it cripples my ability to bring concrete form to my creative voice.

With all of that in mind, I began the arduous task of picking through decades of "precious" items.
Some of them were easy enough to part with. They no longer fit my idea of suitable art supplies (to me anyway), my color preferences changed or I was no longer interested in completing that particular project.

But what I did notice was that the longer I worked at cleaning out my space, the easier it got to toss the items to the "throw away" or "donate" pile.
And, when that happened, I felt that a weight had been lifted off of me. I could really feel my spirits lifting.

I believe that I was opening up space for something new, something fresh in my life.

I didn't want to allow the past, in the form of clutter, to hamper future possibilities.

The action of purging the studio fueled a passion to do the same thing throughout my home.

At the end of the day, the pain that I feel is an odd comfort.
It tells me that I am doing a good thing, that I am putting in the important work it takes to create not only a physical space that invites creativity and inspiration but I am also creating that same space within myself.

I did not plan on this being a New Year's resolution. It just happened to be this time of the year.

If I was one to make resolutions, I'd resolve to continue to simplify my life, my home and attitude.
For they have become much too cluttered.

I hope that you all continue to invite inspiration into your life.
A good place to start is to create a space for it - open yourself up to possibility.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays to you all!

A card from my friend Denise.
I love this hand painted card.
Thank you again Denise.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Fiber 5K to Fight Cancer

Cancer is a devastating disease that touches all of our lives – there is probably no one out there who hasn't been affected by it in one way or another, either suffering it in one’s own body or having it touch the life of a loved one. My own family has been touched several times by the damned thing.
My oldest sister died from renal cell carcinoma.
My grandmother had breast cancer.
My husband's mother died from breast cancer as well as his grandmother from the same disease.
I have several friends that have waged a ferocious war with cancer. And not all of them won.
Fiber5Kroute400As a fiber artist one of the causes I feel most called to support is Fiberart for a Cause, an initiative founded by fiber artist Virginia Spiegel. So today I would like to invite you all to mark your calendars for January 15, 2014 and join me as I run the Fiber 5K to Fight Cancer. OK, I won’t actually be jogging around a race course. But I will be joining the fun as Fiberart For A Cause’s virtual race kicks off with a goal of donating $5000 directly to the American Cancer Society.
Generous Prize Sponsors for drawings means there will be many winners at the 1K ($1000) mark, 2K ($2000) mark, etc., plus a Grand Prize drawing when we cross the Finish Line.
According to Race Director, Virginia Spiegel, “Fiberart For A Cause likes to have fun while raising money to fight cancer, so, of course, there are going to be more “race” details revealed as January 15 draws closer. 100% of donations are given directly to the American Cancer Society through Fiberart For A Cause. Fiberart For A Cause has already donated more than $230,000 to the American Cancer Society thanks to the generosity of fiber artists and patrons.”
More information right here.

Friday, December 20, 2013


I've had a bit of a hiatus from the blog, from a busy life and from most anything else.

It all started with a studio/house cleanup/clean out.
I tend to pull everything out, go through it and put back what I am keeping (which was 50% of what I took out).
I also have piles (bags) for donating, boxes for selling and bags of trash.
Lots of paper trash...what in the hell was I going to do with all the paper I was hoarding I mean storing?

Anyway, right in the middle of the project, I got sick.
Sinus infection, bronchitis, fever, aches, blah, blah, blah.
Snot a funny thing, I'll tell you.

I am managing to get a little done everyday, little by little.
And I am so excited by the results!
Simplify, simplify - that is what I looking to do.

In looking back over this year, I've been able to see what I've been doing.
It wasn't too obvious while I was doing it but now that I am looking back on it, I can see what was really going on.
Isn't life just that way?
The power of hindsight.

I have spent a lot of this year resting.
And trying to figure out what I want to do.

What do I mean by "what I want to do"?

I spent years at home, making things, creating art.
I didn't really read a lot of blogs or magazines.

I just did what called to me.

The past 2 or 3 years I've read blogs, magazines and took a couple of online workshops.
As I was cleaning out my studio, I could see that I had created several pieces of other peoples art.
Not mine.
Oh, my hand was in it but some of the images were not mine at all.
(in my own defense, I did not claim that it was my "original" art but inspired by someone else)

But that distressed me.
I do not want to lose my own voice and I feel that the past few months have been very good for me.

The resting, thinking and looking inward.
I think that I will be better equipped to raise my voice this coming year.

Now on to something that I'd like to share.

 I feel so blessed to have a piece of art in Lesley Riley's newest book "Quotes Illustrated"!

This is such a cool book, especially if you love quotes (and art work).
It's full of one of a kind art work that was created just for the quote that it illustrates.

My quote was by Karl Barth.

"Grace must find expression in life, otherwise it is not grace."

I used plaster embedded gauze, joint compound, acrylic paint and glazes to create a canvas with a niche. In the niche is a piece of driftwood shaped like a wing.

Seriously, it looks just like a wing. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of driftwood that I have ever found.

I'll explain why I created what I did in response to the above quote.

I felt that the layers of plaster and joint compound were representing the layers that our lives have- the many relationships, the heartaches, the trials that are required for grace to develop in our life.
I scratched marks into the plaster much as living our lives leaves marks on us.
The beauty (or horror) of each mark shows the layer below it.

The wing shaped driftwood could represent that promise of freedom that grace would offer us.

Grab a copy for yourself so you can see all of the creative artwork inside.
Maybe you will also find a quote that sparks your creativity as it did mine.

Happy Holidays!