Friday, November 30, 2007

Blog 30th - Commenter's Drawing on Blog 14th!

O.K. Last day to comment for a small treasure chest of goodies. Go back to Blog 14th and leave a comment, we will pick a winner tomorrow and post your name if you haven't made a link, or just contact you privately for your address so that I can send you your thank-you-for-reading-my-blog gift! (A little art, a little sweet, a little challenge...)
See you tomorrow. And I will start showing you some of the art projects that I have been finding in my studio as I have been cleaning. Wow. (I have been a bit more prolific than I thought I was.) (Cool ideas too. They take me by surprise - I forget where I have been in the last few years.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Blog 26th - My New Pincushion

So, maybe you think that I have dropped off the face of the Earth. No, I have just been cleaning my studio. Y'know how you just trip over an UFO just one too many times? (un-finished object) Well, you'd think I was pregnant with all the nesting and cleaning going on around here. (I'm so not pregnant, so I get to wonder what cosmic turn is up.)

Well one of the great things about sorting through is that one finds long lost things. I now have several thimbles, all together in a tiny drawer on my desk, a great number of my scissors, including the deckle edged ones, in their own drawer, with the X-acto knives, extra blades, and sharpening stone, and I have been finding lots of needles! Yay! So many that I had to make a new pincushion. I found a piece of felt, got some small rocks, and stitched away.


Yeah. You know how you reach for pins on a round pincushion and the "tomato" rolls, and then you grasp a pin and the whole pincushion comes with you? Very aggrivating. So I sewed the design that I have spent years wondering when I would take the 1/2 an hour to make.

I traced a circle on heavy cardboard and cut it out. Then I cut a slightly bigger circle of felt, and four triangles of felt each with bottom measurements a smidgen more than 1/4 of the circumference of the circle. None of these measurements were exact, or, for that matter, even measured. I guessed big and recut as needed.

ANYway, I stitched it all together and made a small pouch of the rocks to sit atop the cardboard - for weight so that I can pick up pins without flinging the pincushion about - and stuffed around and on top of the rocks ... do you get it? It works so well. You deserve one too. Let me draw you a cutaway view:

And here is the pic:

It even has a tassel at the top so that I can move it without getting poked! And it has a flat base so that it doesn't roll around.

My world is perfect. (It's the little things.)

Here's hoping that your little things are making your world perfect too.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blog 20th - October Bird..again. Still.

Another piece of October Bird.

More silver foil. More beading. Though I think that this section is up for revision. I really like how those packed lines of beads look. The original drawing on the cloth has back and forth scribbles to color in these sections, so the beading is reminiscent of that - though you can't really tell as the beads cover up the drawing ... well, anyway.

There are some guys in the latest issue of American Craft that have six foot panels of glass beading. Oh yeah. Steven and William Ladd. My idea of a good time. Hundreds of hours of beading. It wins out over bombing the National Museum in Bagdhad, or inventing Christmas tree lights with "lead and other substances which are known to cause birth defects and cancer. Please wash your hands after handling." I'm not kidding. Go read the packages. Lower right hand corner of the back panel on the box that I saw yesterday. I am so not kidding. The people who invent this stuff? How do they sleep at night?

California has a law that makes manufacturers at least label the boxes with warnings, but what sickness of spirit makes a person approve of the decision to add toxic substances to Christmas Decorations??!! So shall I decorate with gloves on this year, and tell the children not to touch the tree/tree lights? Or shall we skip the lights this year? Maybe I could put little footlights at the bottom of the tree ...

Oh dear...

I'm gonna go back and bead.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Blog 19th - October Bird

Oh, Hi.
I have been working on October Bird.

What do you think?

I am getting close to done. See up at the top of this picture? That is silver paper. (Chocolate wrapper - fairly traded chocolate I'll have you know.) I just feel so strongly about using reconfigured trash in my pieces; it's pretty, it's free, there's just so much of it! I need something more... the picture isn't quite balanced ... I will go and keep beading. I wish you Monday morning occupations that you love as much as I love mine.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Blog 17th - Quilted Vessels

Don't forget to Comment For Prizes on Blog 14th!

So, I am working on the paperwork to write a book on my Quilted Vessels, and I would like to hear what you think.
Would you buy a book that had a big gallery section of these vessels? Would you buy a book that taught you how to make them?
Would you be interested in the book if it also contained lessons on how to handpaint your own fabric?
How interested would you be to have the beading lessons included?
Some of the vessels use "reconfigured trash", or recycled treasures as a part of their ornamentation, would you be interested in seeing how to do that?
Thank you for your input! Here are some pictures of Quilted Vessels.
Homage To My Art Ancestors

In Her Dark Grace

I Must Change My Mind

Pond Dance

Embroider My Heart With Compassion

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Blog 15th - Altered Books

Lots of pictures today. Here is the book that I started with: The Columbia Viking Desk Encyclopedia.First, I pasted the edges of the pages together with acrylic gel medium, and cut a niche into the papers. Well, before the first I perused the book and tore out pages with great drawings; I found pictures of architecture - things we have made - bridges, houses, arch and column styles. I cut these up and pasted them randomly over the inside of the end pages and inside the niche.Then, with the paper that I had cut from the book I rolled some beads. Ever done that? Over a knitting needle or toothpick roll evenly cut strips of paper until you get a bead of the heft that you like. You can use triangles and get a semblance of round-ish bead, but I wanted tubular beads.There are the strips with glue on the ends to hold the many strips together, and an experiment with blue acrylic paint and gel medium to see if I could make the blue transparent, and the beads lined up with their pearl and Swarovski crystal spacers. I had also pasted tiny pictures of the history of furniture styles, exampled in chairs over the ages, onto the beads - which I wanted to see through the blue paint.

Below, here, I had painted the beads and was drying them - and in the process invented an amazing Bead Drying Rack! I tucked a T-pin through the bead and stuck it into a piece of blue foam insulation board. (I usually paint fabric on these boards, so they are paint ridden anyway.) They let the beads spin around while I painted them, left them open to the air on all sides and I could move the board into a safe place for the hours that they would take to dry. I am so pleased.

Here is a picture of the back end paper - a view of the Pacific Ocean and its encircling land masses - the front end paper has a map of the Atlantic.And here is the end result!

You can go here to get to the Rockport, (Maine) Library website for the Out Of Bounds Altered Book Show or just come to the Rockport Opera House on Friday evening, Saturday or Sunday to see the show! See you there! R

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Blog 14th - Say Yes

Now this is my idea of enough beading!

I have had this YES up on my wall for a while, and now it is time to pass it on. I have listed it for sale at There are glass, stone, plastic, metal: all manner of little beadlings, about 1/2" of colorful beadifiers.

I learned YES at The Bread and Puppet Circus with my Haystack Mountain School of Crafts class from the summer of 1982. I still have the original small paper poster that first said YES to me. My YES is that I believe myself. That tiny piece of paper told my to hang in there with my dreams.

What is your YES? Let's have a Commenters Drawing: all of the commenters to this post, between now and the end of the month will be put into a hat and I will get one of my children to draw a name and you will win ... well, I will make up some wonderful little goody box of treats. Something will definately have beads on it!

O.K., so what or how is your YES? To whom did you say YES? Let us know...


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

blog 13th - Doodle applique

Good Morning ... or ... um, whenever it is for you,
Enclosed are two pictures of a piece that I took on the road with me yesterday. It is a homework assignment from my Creative Chick Doodling class, and involves one of my all time favorite passtimes: applique. Here is the first picture, of the overall:

Here is a close-up of the stitching.

Susan uses floss and a bigger needle and I have found that less rhythmic, (I have to pull so hard and my hand strength must not be what hers is), so I use a single thread and a size 12 needle - very tiny, but it glides through all of those fabric layers. I am calling this stitch a "cross-hatched-herringbone".

Let me see if I can make you a tutorial ... Here!

Once again my camera and I have not figured out how close I can get, but let me walk you through.

1. Come up at A, (I came up at the outside edge of the top fabric ). Go down at B, up at C, (1/8" or so inside the edge).

2. Go down at D, up at E, (outside edge).

3. Go down at F, up at G, (inside the edge).

4. Keep repeating 2. and 3. overlapping all of your cross-stitches. This is not a neat stitch, with the angles of the crosses all parallel. No, this is one of those dreaming stitches: your size 12 glides, you meditate, and Goddess takes care of all the angles.

It is doing a great job with all of those fraying edges too.

See ya tomorrow.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Blog 12th

Hmmm, my time is not enterely my own. This blog-a-day thing isn't quite happening. I am working on October Bird, but in the past few days have only gotten so much done. Anyway, here is so far:

Most of what I have done is just followed the green lines in the drawing with green beads - an activity that I find extremly satisfying, (or just easy and mindless). But I have also been figuring out some other embellishments:I have some area beading and some stacks that follow one of the blue lines. After the beads comes the trash. I have some silver papers picked out ...

See you tomorrow.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Blog 9th

So here I am in this November Blog-A-Day thing and I am not writing every day. 'Course I didn't find out about it until the third and so there goes that. I thought that it would be good practice for me in this my new Let's Be An Artist On The Web job though. Just to get used to working on the various pieces that I have going and inciting a sence of accountability.

Today's news is a bit mimimalist as I have been, as I said, working on two altered books for our library's Out Of Bounds art show next week. I will submit the books today. I hesitate to show pictures on the internet too soon for fear of "ruining the surprise". Or maybe it would be good advertising for the exhibition which is Friday through Sunday at the Rockport Opera House, here in Maine. Maybe I should go ask the Librarians.

Those done, I get to go back to October Bird. I have gotten her pink self about as embellished as I like. Here:

See those "feather" stitches on her wings? Get it? ... I really love the feeling of thread and beads on fabric. Lovely little Braille-like bumps telling intimate stories.

I have been thinking and talking about our physical beauty. Some people think that our beauty shouldn't be so important. But I keep thinking that often what someone looks like is our first knowledge of a person. Unless we know them in writing - like here on a blog, or an author in her book, or we hear someone on the radio. But as long as sight is one of our active senses, looks are what usually draw us first with the people in our lives. The other senses are more intimate - though maybe sound on the radio, or in a speech in a crowded place is less so - normal talking voices need proximity, touch needs, one hopes, permission, which implies a relationship. Smell requires a moment and nearness, and certainly taste implies relationship, even if you are only sucking the venom out of a snake bite and in the relationship of healer.

So touch is intimate, (I love to sew), and sight is our first knowledge of another. Why wouldn't our looks be important? We lowly humans who have lost much of our awarenesses of psychic skills. All I'm saying is: why fight that? Why shouldn't we train ourselves to use our beauty for whichever good causes we stand for? Dress up, look fabulous, and go speak about Peace, or Kindness to Mother Earth, or Voting. Not that dating isn't important too, but as long as people are being drawn in by the visual - well, why not use the audience to say something important?

Oh, all right. Enough. I am off to sew the sky.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Blog 8th - doodling and rubberstamping

Weeell, I don't want to show you just yet what I have really been working on: those final days before the show and all: OUT OF BOUNDS at our local library, is an art show of altered books! What a hoot! You go into the library expecting to borrow books and on the way out there is a box of old books that they are giving awayfor us to cut up and paint and otherwise artistically mangle! The really cool part is that after the show during the weekend of the 16th, the library will keep certain books, (we'll be juried), to remain in circulation! You'll be able to go to the library and borrow art. Now how wonderful is that?
Next weekend I will show you my two altered books. For now I will show you a rubber stamp that I made:

It is 4" x 4" square. There it is all inked up. Below on paper:And below here it is printed on cloth. Cloth that I printed in Susan Sorrell's class on fabric painting.See the background shapes? They are paper clips laid over sun dyed fabric. I think that beading this one will be great.

Gotta go, more tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

She recognised you...

I heard this yesterday in a radio talk by Father Greg Boyle: "The woman was crying because she recognised you as the shape of God's heart." He runs a business in L.A. that hires ex-gang members. The 'you' in that quote was a man who, an ex-gang member, now works in the office hosting tours of the facility in Los Angeles, and who was just returning from a dinner at the White House. I sometimes feel like an ex-gang member myself. Different gang. We, the priveleged, slay with different weapons. Long story. I watched a boy play in the tidal mud and sunshine, looking, probably, for crabs in the shape of God's heart, and wondered what that felt like.

I worshipped the yearning in that woman's son in L.A. that made him charm the visitors, and I worshipped the yearning for krill in that little boy on the beach, and I wondered.

I worked on the heart of Heartroot yesterday.

Above the whole, below the root ...

and here the heart.I used golden iris beads, and pink translucent, and deep red, and gold, and gold translucent ... I sew the beads in, deep and full, wishing that I could recognise the shape of God's heart at my fingertips.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Blog 5th - dyed, beaded Timtex

Yipes! We had a power outage yesterday! I can now passionately add to my gratitudes list: I am grateful for bright, electric light to sew by. I am grateful for running water. I am grateful for sunshine on my diningroom table when I don't have electric lights. I am grateful that the Y had power. And, of course, I am grateful for all of those nice Central Maine Power people who fixed the broken transformer on our street at 9 o'clock at night!
Back to art:

Here is the heartroot!

And a side view to get a better sence of the depth and crustiness of the thing.

And a tiny beading tutorial.

Position One , on the far left there, is a stack: string two pony beads, (size 8), and then a seed bead, (size 11), pull the beads all the way down the thread until they rest against the fabric and go back through the two pony beads - NOT the seed bead - and down into the fabric. (One may stack up as many beads as one likes.)

Position Two, is what I have been calling a jump: string 6 seed beads and go back into the fabric a short distance away. The closer that you go back into the fabric , then the taller the "jump" will be.

Position Three, is a pony bead on its side - just a bit more height than a seed bead. I was trying to go from a low profile near the brick colored seed bead edge to a higher mound in the center of each root finger, the pony was a good first stage.

Position Four is that single seed bead which I also used as a filler.

Position Five is another stack: this is a stack of 6 seed beads and behind the front line of techniques is a stack in progress showing how you come back through all of the beads except one.

Sigh. Beads sure do make me happy. Oh! Y'know, I just remembered: on my 40th birthday, (which was a toughie for me, 50 was easier, just like Judy told me - that it is one or the other that gets you, but not both - anyway, on that birthday I only asked for beads. The giver's choice. It was great! I received beads that I might not have bought for myself but that have been terrific additions to many a project.
Remind me to tell you about Rudy and the chispas. Might explain my bead happiness.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

blog 3rd - heartroot

I just found out about NaBloPoMo: National Blog Post Month, check it out at

Now I have to write once a day - I thought that it would be good practice. Here is what I am working on today:
I dyed some Timtex - really stiff interfacing - and tried so hard to embroider it with floss, but gave that up for a line of beads. The Timtex is so stiff though that I was having trouble holding on to it as I navigated all of the twists of the line ...

so I cut the center out and now the beading goes a bit more easily. And I have an idea about sewing it all back together.

Here is the heart and the root. Not crusty enough yet. More, much more is needed.

But the Out of Bounds Altered Book Project is due in less than a week, and I am behind in my class, and I haven't finished October Bird yet, and here it is November... Yeah, I will have plenty to write about as long as I get my little fingers nimbling along here.

Wait 'til you see what I am going to do to the root.