Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas! We all did - my husband and I spent some time with our kids (all together - in the same room!). We have 3 kids between the two of us - Emily turned 16 today. Trey is 19 and going to Clemson University. Will just turned 21 and is home from Winthrop University. You can imagine how difficult it is to get them together at the same time...we managed to do this not once, but twice during the holiday season.
I hope that everyone has a great New year! I've got a big year planned - lots of new things are going to be happening this year. I hope that you are planning to take your dreams, your hopes and your goals to the next level -
It's time to Take Action.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mary Did You Know

Holiday Wishes

I hope that each and every one of you have a very
merry and safe Holiday!
I know that we all have different beliefs,
celebrate in a lot different ways
but my wish is the same for everyone...
Peace on Earth and
Goodwill to all.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What light through yonder window breaks...

What an odd light coming through my studio window today...

Sketching, stitching and painting the afternoon away.
Celebrating a Big Birthday this evening - my son is 21 today!
Wow - I can't believe how quickly the time passed...
I won't write a bunch of mushy mommy stuff in case he reads this...
but can't all you moms out there just imagine what I am thinking of today?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I'm trying out a new service that my buddy Susan Sorrell told me about- www.ping.fm -to link all my "social networks" together.
Not that I have that many - I just would like to make one blog post and have it go to every site that I interact with.
Let's see how it does...

Thread Sketching

I've spent a few days working on the new class I mentioned
(which I'm lovin' by the way)
and right in the middle of that,
I was hit with another blast of
"Hey - what if I...?".
So, I finished the New Class project yesterday
(did I mention how totally cool this class is going to be?!)
and rushed to begin the new
"Hey - What if I...?" project.
Here's the beginning of that...
I took one of the tree images from my sketched journal pages and drew it on a piece of canvas.
You could trace, free hand draw, transfer (etc) to get the image on the fabric.
Then I outlined it with free motion embroidery work on my trusty sewing machine.
I love the look !
Today I'm going to play with coloring the image - inks, paints, water soluble pastels...
I'll use whatever is handy and within the reach of my impatient little hand.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Holiday Coffee3s

This is where I went yesterday.

I spent several hours in the company of two wonderful, funny and artsy ladies -
Anne Taylor and Susan Sorrell.
I met some really cool folks too (waving to Bonnie) ("Hi Bonnie!").
I didn't get to go to any of the Coffee3s this year and
was determined to go to this one...
I love going into the Little House Art Studio. The walls
are all such bright colors and Susan has her art work displayed all over the house.
If you've ever seen her work, it's quite bright and colorful as well.

Annie has her own studio room where her gorgeous art photography is out.
She had some of the coolest tiles with not only photos transferred on them
but some of her own watercolors paintings as well.
What a very artistic use of the two mediums.
I loved them!
Susan is going to be offering a new class next year called
"Get Your Sh*t" Together" (GYST) .
Which I definitely need to do...
and I've heard a lot of other artists say the same thing.
Follow the link on the class name to see the info.
I think there are five sessions and each session is two classes -
All Day Classes!
Great price too!
I've signed up-
and I am just putting this out there right now.
I expect a lot of great things to be happening to me this coming year.
Not just personally, but related to my desire to teach, to sell my work,
to write -
to share my creativity with others...
I want to help other people find their own creative voice - it's there people...
You just gotta give it a little encouragement .
Universe - I'm ready.
I'm stepping up to that proverbial line -
and walking right past it...

Friday, December 18, 2009

More on Scraps, Fragments and Artifacts

You know, when you try to think about
What You Like...
What You Do Well...
And How You Do it
you must consider all these things separately.
And then together.
I've been trying to narrow down my focus a little.
I like to do SO many things,
I'm always trying new things..
I am constantly changing what I do...
I decided it was time to really give this a careful consideration.
And add all those things that I love to a new class.

The last year of my life has been a very difficult time.
My mother passed away in February and a lot of "situations" came to light after that traumatic event.
Most of the things that you have to do when a family members dies fell to me.
A house full of mementos, keepsakes and little snippets that my mom loved to keep and look at.
I found things from her mother that she had lovingly wrapped in soft fabrics...

I could just see my mom - stroking her worn hands across the soft fabric of my grandmothers quilt...
I could see my grandmothers hands as she lovingly pulled the thread through that same quilt- making her stitch in time...

Scraps of fabric, of stories
Fragments of a memory, of another time
And Artifacts - from your family, your loved ones...
All woven together to tell a story of where you came from or of another that inspires you.
Join me as we gather all our random mementos and weave them into a mixed media fiber piece.

It's going to be a place that you can finally showcase your little treasures instead of hiding them away in a drawer or box somewhere.

Here's a little peek at mine in progress...

The center of the piece is the one thing that I think of when my grandmother and mom cross my mind (no pun intended).
Their belief in The Living God. In the power of the cross and those three nails.
Their lives were not easy. They lived in difficult times, were raised poor.
I've backed this section with bird's nest paper. It's full of odd materials that have been meshed together - like a bird finding this and that to make her home.
This signifies how "rough" their lives were.
I added a little piece of a soft and worn towel from my mom's house. A simple kitchen towel that she had taken care of so it would last and last.
I connected three rusty nails and a quartz cross and laid it on top of the previous pieces.
The center of their world - that cross and nails.
Cushioned on their well worn belief in times of turmoil.

I found a pack of labels from my grandmother - some of those

"Handmade and Designed by" labels...I used one to back another section.

If you look closely, you can see a tiny bit of her name -

printed in red.

A bit of a screen from my mom's house...it all has meaning to me.

Just like yours will.

I'll help you look for the story - put the words to it.

We'll also learn a lot of different mixed media techniques like joining non-traditional pieces to fiber work,

sewing on (and with) paper, making paper fabric.

Some fabric painting, a little dyeing...

You know - a little of this and a little of that.

Details on the class will be on the blog site in the coming days.

I hope to teach it locally but am sure to be teaching it in a place a little farther away this fall.

Won't you join me?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Scraps, Fragments and Artifacts

Inspiration has hit...

Fabric is flying.
Threads are humming.
Beads are rolling.
Mistyfuse is fusing.

My studio is, once again, a very happy place to be.

I've got a new class in the works!
You ladies are going to love this one...

Be gathering all your bits and pieces, your favorite little scraps of fabric, all those little things that you just couldn't stand to part with -
you know what I mean, don't cha?
While you're looking - pull together some of your favorite keepsakes from a loved one.
Those artifacts you hide away - maybe pulling them out once or twice a year to look at.
This project is all about making a memory...
saving some space...
and having an heirloom when you're finished.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Get Togethers

Last Friday, I ventured to Fletcher, NC to a fellow Fiber Junkies house for a holiday get together.
Several ladies gathered to share some food, some finished work
and some holiday food and spirits.
I took a bunch of (not too good) photos but like any proud mama - I mean friend - I'm going to make you suffer through them anyway.
Kinda like summer vacation photos, ya know?

First things first -
Martine House.
Have you ever seen any of Martine's fiber work?
Not photos of it - but in person?
There are times in your life that you walk up on a person's art work -
you are just in awe. No words to describe it.
You can hardly ask sensible questions about it because it it so enthralling and captivating.
Martine House makes fiber art with her hands - no machine work here.
Old fashioned hand work. Her felting is indescribable...
Her latest piece in the "Offerings" series is called "Iceless?".
The outside is hand felted - it looks like the sides have grown up and over the structure...
like it has been growing there a very long time - little crooks with rocks peeking from them - twists and turns with hand stitching.
As I said, my photos are NOT good ones (sorry Martine!)
but even professional ones can't catch the enthralling beauty of her work.

Opening the first layer of the Offering.
Note the trees, the limbs inside.
These are all hand embroidered by her - with one strand of DMC floss...
ONE strand.
Her embroidery is Meticulous.

The center of the box is opened to reveal a silk pouch with the Offering inside.

Look at the beading on the strands holding the inside section together.

I think that some of the same beads were used on the Offerings inside the pouch.

This photo shows the first section opened with the second one still having its closure on.

Hand molded copper with patina applied.

This is a close up of the closures that she fashioned.

The Offering has been removed from it's resting place.

See how the different levels speak to each other - different yet the same.

This is the beautiful, enchanting necklace that she made.

Martine has more photos on her blog - go have a peek.

She also talks about the process of making the Offering.

Such a fascinating artist.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rattle Them Bones

A few years ago, my husband and I took our kids to Washington, DC.
We went to all the tourists haunts, pulling the kids behind us.
But there was one place that everyone loved.
The Museum of Natural History.
The kids ran from top to bottom, pulling us along
talking excitedly about this exhibit or that one...
I loved it all - the beauty of the hauntingly sorrowful changes that our world had suffered through...
The recreations of all the magnificent animals that roamed before man ever began leaving his footprints...
But my favorite place was the rooms that housed hundreds of skeletons.
I was just fascinated with all of those animal skeletons.
I honestly never realized that until I walked into that room...
It was breath taking.
How could the natural color of the bones
be so alive in a creature that had drawn its last breath?
It was facinating that they could make these skeletons seem so alive- so real- when they were strung together by a man's hand.
I was eventually pulled from the rooms because I kept going back and forth,
looking - reading...
making up stories about them...
some kind of odd attachment began brewing in that room all those years ago.

Since then, I've been known to collect bones...
wherever I happen upon them...
and whatever kind I find.
I have began adding them to my mixed media work in the last year or so.

A few months ago, while reading my friend Judy Perez's blog,
I saw mention of where she had gone to a SOFA expo.
She had a couple of photos of work done by Geoffrey Gorman.

He picks up found objects, screws, bolts, weathered wood...bits of this and that
and fashions them into the most beautiful sculptures I have ever seen.
He assembles some into animals, some into men...
allowing Mother Nature to have her input on them as well.
If you get a chance, look at his work.
You might be as taken with it as I am.
Be sure to visit his blog too.
He offers some insight into the process-
you know -
The why of The what.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sneak Peeks and a Beast

There you have it...
Two Sneak Peeks
and here's The Beast.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Bead Work

Why is it that you always find 872 other things to do when you have a deadline?
I do it - all the time.
I was (really , I was) working on the Deadline Project when I got side tracked
by The Camera.
Here's what I wound up doing with the beads instead of actually sewing them on the Deadline Project...

Hey! There's Jane's Wholey Paper in the above photo!
I love that stuff.

I was auditioning the colored glass beads to see which one looked the best...

the gold won out over the blue ones.

And the green ones.

It's a snow man stack of beads!

Hope that you all have a great day.

Remember to do something creative today- allow your creative spirit to play.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Many years ago, I worked an a RN in the
Greenville Hospital System Neonatal ICU (preemies, sick newborns).
I went there straight out of nursing school and really loved my job.
I was looking through some papers today, looking for my son's birth certificate (he got a job at the Winthrop University Art Gallery!) and happened upon this...

This is the actual set of footprints from one of the babies
that I cared for back in 1987. He was 24 days old
and weighed a whopping 1 pound and 2 ounces!
I placed the penny above the footprints so you could see how tiny they really are.
His little feet were not quite 1 1/2" long.
We had patients that were smaller than that actually...
and now days, they are even smaller than when I worked there.
Technology is a wonderful (and scary) thing, isn't it?
It made me miss those tiny little babies...

Point & Shoot

I've been involved in a couple of online classes here lately.
One of them is over at LK Ludwig's blog site.
It's called "Point & Shoot Journaling" workshop.
I have a ton of digital photos just sitting in my computer.
Collecting virtual dust.
I betcha that you do too.
LK has this awesome monthly workshop that involves using those photos and journaling with them.
And it's VERY reasonably priced.
Maybe Santa Baby could bring you one of the classes (she has three so far). While you're over at LK's blog, take a peek at her books.
You might add those to your Christmas list as well.

I hope that you're all having a peaceful and creative day.
I'm at home, watching the rain out of my window.
Tonight we start moving the furniture back in to my studio!
I can't wait to have my space back again.
And to be able to find things - without looking for two hours...
All freshly painted. A soot free space...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Patsy Thompson

Here's another great link for all of you fiber artists...
My friend, Patsy Thompson, has put up a blog post about the quilt top that I did an entry about last week.
Jeez - did that make sense?

I'll try it again...

Last week, I did a blog post about a quilt top that my friend Patsy made.
Go over to her blog and have a look!
(much better, huh?)

As are her photo's and explanation too.
If you've never seen her machine quilting up close (and personal)
you should go to a show ( or class) ( or demo) and look at it.
She is just SO SO talented!
And what an awesome teacher! Her DVDs make it so easy to follow along...
they are clear and concise - they have print outs as well.
And there are free downloads over at her web site!
FREE I tell you!
And a lot of them.
I actually have no idea how many DVDs that Patsy and Ernie (her fabulous) (and funny) husband have.
Go and check that out too.

And how was YOUR Thanksgiving America?
Mine was great - spent with my Baby, family, friends and a plate full of favorite Thanksgiving dishes.
I'd list them all but I had no idea what some of them were called! But they sure did taste good.
My very favorite thing of all was the company that we were with.

The past couple of weeks, we have spent working in my studio.
I had just completed moving all the furniture around, organizing all of my supplies and hanging some original art work on the walls when there was a

slight problem.

"How slight?" you ask.
"Hmmm...not too slight." I answer.

"What all did it involve?" you ask.

Well, It involved some previously sagging sheet rock in my studio ceiling, one man fixing a kitchen ceiling leak,the back of that man's ankle, a Fairly Large Hole in the previously mentioned sagging sheet rock in my studio, about 40 years of heating with coal (and the soot from that heating method),
"Ah Shit!" (from the one in the attic)
(OK, maybe a little more verbiage than that)
and one frantic scream of
"Baby! Are you okay?!"
from me.
(oh yeah - and the "Stop! Stop!" that I think I screamed when the Pink Panther insulation appeared to be falling into my studio along with the ceiling sheet rock, the years of accumulated soot, the nails (notice I said "nails" and not "sheet rock nails" that SHOULD HAVE BEEN USED there), the various items that tumbled off of the shelves that they were previously situated on top of including (but not limited to) books, antique family Bibles, vintage stuffed dolls & animals, fabric, spools of fabulously colored rayon thread, embroidery thread, paint, paintbrushes, paper, canvas, artist art paper, journal books...you get the picture?
Anyway...where was I going with (or at) that?!

This is where we are with it - ceiling fixed! (Yeah - hired someone for that job.)
We had to clean the walls, the floor, the doors, the windows and the ceiling itself.
Oh, I didn't mention
Did I?
Yes. We did.
I am SO thankful for a couple of things.
My ceiling worker, Baby, did not get hurt in all of this. (So, so thankful for this!)
And while I was re-organizing my "stuff"the past few months, I had put the majority of my things in clear plastic containers. It kept the years of soot away from all of the tiny pieces of fabric, the multitudes of plain white and decorative paper, collage items and miscellaneous other items that I keep in my studio.
And I keep a lot of items of my studio.
A lot of really cool things, actually.
But It's All Good.

And it's okay.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope that all of you ( in the United States) have a safe and joyful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Great link

My friend, Judy Simmons, has done an awesome blog post
on our get together this week.
Run on over and read it!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Surface Design 2

I was so busy oohing and aahing over Judy Simmons surface design samples that I didn't get any pictures! But those of you that know Judy and have seen her work, know exactly what I mean!
I love the way that she manipulates the photos in Photoshop and then prints them on different fabrics.
And organized? Is that lady organized!
You should see her notebooks that are full of samples, all logged in with the particular fabric and what she did to it.
The sheer bird that I used on the collage in my header was printed under Judy's direction and help.
I've ask her about getting photos so I can post them and hopefully some time next week I'll be able to (computer problems prevent that right now).
Anyway, that ends a week long posting spree about the little group that met at the Arboretum this week.
Oh, I did do a "doodle drawing demo" (say that fast three times) and had everyone drawing up a storm by the end of the day.
Even when they all said they couldn't draw a stick man...

You should all get to the NC Arboretum if you can - I want to go back and see what the walking trail has to offer. It looked like it would be an awesome walk through the woods - I'm sure I might be able to find some goodies there.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Art House Co-op Street Team News

As a member of the Art House Street Team, I get news of new opportunities to exhibit your work as an artist...
or author.

Here's one for all of you self portrait fans - check it out!

And here is another for the author (or budding author) , 'zine writer or children's book illustrators in your home.
It's the first ever Art House literary project.

What an awesome opportunity to get your work out there and to tempt your creative taste buds!

Surface Design

Can you believe it?
A new blog post for three days in a row...
That may be a record for me.
And that, in itself, is rather funny. Anyone that knows me, knows that I tend to talk a lot
(I saw all of you rolling your eyes!) but you would think that I'd have more to say.
And I do (have a lot to say) it just takes me SOOOO long to do a blog post.
I like to add links, and have accurate facts and go on and on about things.
Kinda like I'm doing now.
So, without muddling up the issue any longer, I'll get on with what I came here to post about.
Friends, fibers and those that are freaks about both.
No really.
I've added some photos of fabric (and fiber) that my friend Nancy Bruce rusted.
Now, you all know that I love rusty stuff (and rusting stuff) but Nancy has been doing this longer than I have.
I think she said for about 10 years.
That's a lot of time. And a lot of rusty stuff.
She found this really cool piece that was awesome to rust with at an antique/consignment shop that we all went to a while back.
Here's a beautiful scarf.

Another scarf - same kind actually but rusted under different weather conditions. Notice how the one below has a much heavier application of rust ( or rust color).

Look at that awesome pattern from the item that was rusting. I can just imagine all sorts of interesting uses for this fiber piece.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Show and Tell

I'm managing to keep my word in posting more photos from my little trip up the mountain yesterday.
My friend Patsy is such an awesome machine quilter - I love her work.
And the colors!
Oh my - she hand dyes all her fabric (check out her blog and DVD's for instructions on that!).
Did you know that she has completely free quilting designs that you can download on her web site?
Yes, completely FREE!
This piece is one that she recently revisited and did some thread work on.
You can't really tell by the photo but the thread on the smaller design elements looks almost fluorescent.
Can't remember the name of it but I loved it!

This is another WIP that she brought - love the applique.
And this one - wow...can you see the machine quilting on this piece?!
It is Beautiful! She said that she used a liquid stitch product to fuse (? right word?) the edges of the green section down.
I think I have early Alzheimer's...I can't remember anything!
Perhaps it's some of the medication that I take that is doing it to me.
Couldn't be that I'm getting older...could it?
It could be that I just need to write things down...
that just might help.

She has a photo gallery on her web site as well -

you should go visit and see what fabulous works of art that she has created.

Besides being a Master Machine Quilter, Patsy is a beautiful woman with a heart of gold.

I love spending time with her!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

NC Arboretum

I love trees. And bark.
Leaves are cool too just harder to come by this time of the year around here...
I went to the NC Arboretum today and met with a few of my good friends -
fellow Fiber Junkies, to be exact.
(Missed you Mary!)
All the trees and landscape plants are labeled...
really nice way to keep up with the names if you remember to either write it down
or take a picture of the label...
Which I forgot to do.
Anyway -
look at the bark on this beauty!

See how the areas of the trunk that are between the peeling pieces of bark is that sand or tan color?
I picked up a few pieces of bark (off the ground)
and the back side is that same color!
The front is just what you see on the photo- gray brown with the reddish/rust areas sprinkled around on it.
The back side is that beautiful tan/sand color.
I can just see those bark pieces in a nature themed book, can't you? I loved the ferns in the background area. They look like the same ones that I have in one of my flower gardens. Except bigger. And better.
Sorry for the duplicate photo.

I have many more photos of not only the Arboretum but some Show n' Tell pieces too.
I'll post them later this week.
We had a blast, talking, laughing, drawing and painting.

I am really blessed to be in the company of such talented artists.
You know, if you are able to meet with, hang out with or just generally tag along
with a group of similar artist like yourself, you really need to.
It's so fulfilling to listen to the interaction as well as the things that you can learn from them.
And you never know - you just Never Know what you have to offer them...

So what you need to do is reach out.
Find some like minded peeps and gather them close.
Share your talent and
Let your light shine!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Patterns Everywhere

I can't help but notice patterns everywhere I go.
While driving (well riding) down the Interstate highway with my husband, I noticed some really cool patterns in these PVC pipes that were stacked up on a big truck.
If you look closely, you can see the star pattern around each pipe.