Monday, June 29, 2009

Somewhere over the rainbow...

We’ve been back a little less than a week and I still have not had time to get back into the textile studio. While traveling I did a good bit of hand work quilting with embroidery floss through all seven pieces from the series. I’m also adding a line of hand dyed silk through the series and I’ve got three of the seven of those sewn on. Beyond this point I don’t know what is next. It is an improvisational series, that is certain.

This is "Green" before quilting:

With some machine quilting and some hand work plus the row of silk:

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This is "Blue" but I'm thinking of it more in terms of "Cyan." This is before quilting: This is what it looks like with machine and hand quilting plus the row of silk.
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This one is Indigo before:
After adding some pieces to make this piece the right size, plus some machine and hand quilting. (The top photo's colors are showing more true than the lower one.) This one also has the row of silk along the horizonal line.

I hope to get back to these soon but I don't get the hand work done very quickly when I'm at home. Being stuck in an auto for hours is the perfect time to do quilting, that or mid winter in front of the fire. But this time of year it just doesn't seem like the work I gravitate toward. It will come.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Soap Rocks

"Jasper" hand carved soap rocks... as you use them the carved edges disappear and they look more and more like river rocks.

Independence Day Soap

My Independence Day collection of soap.
"Old Glory" is pure and simple apple pie. Yes indeed, it just doesn't get any better than that!
Some fresh sweet apple, a hint of floral and sweet almond in a combination of goat's milk and olive oil soap.
"July 4th" soap featuring fireworks of red apple, blue spice in sweet vanilla goat's milk soap.
Lapis clove spice with a sweet French vanilla center that makes for a sweet and spicy “Shenandoah Moon.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Traveling Home Again

We made a trip to the midwest to enjoy friends and family and I enjoyed taking photos out of the car's windows. Here are a few:
The wild fog shrouded mountains of West Virginia.
The mountains give way to the flat lands of Ohio though you can still spot some small rolling hills in the distance.
But when you get to Indiana, it's really just flat for miles. This is big sky country out here, which is just so unlike my Virginia home. I really do like the wide open places.
A little taste of small town U.S. heartland, I'm guessing that this is in Ohio somewhere. It always looks the same, each time we drive by.
Cool sky, though I don't know where we were when I took this photo.
This was early evening in Indiana, a mild thunderstorm. I was standing out in the rain with my flip cam hoping for some big lightening or bold crashes but got nothing. (except a little wet)

I started playing "tourist" on the way to our friend's home, taking photos of the Amish buggies.
This one is a convertable buggy? LOL!
A little extra peace and quiet, just for you.
There is something about these big monster tower type thingis that fascinates me.
Such clean lines, symmetrical, orderly... which is strange because I think symmetry is a cop out. An artist can use balance without needing to rely on symmetry... but the lines on these things are cool. And on the road home, we passed through the mountains of West Virginia once more.
Our drive home was a long one but very beautiful!
It was a lovely trip, full of great food and connecting with dear friends. It was good for the soul! Yes indeed, nothing like some beauty, great food and excellent friends. Just nothing like it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Wild Orchids and Flowers

We recently got a little flip cam and I took it along on a walk in the woods a while back. I'm not very good at using it but here are a few highlights from our adventure. Mr Wild Man and I go way back and he gives wild orchid tours. It was a lovely morning being shown around the forest meeting the lovely flowers of the wild wood. Here are some pink lady slippers:

And some putty root orchids:

And some pink mountain laurel:

Maybe I'll get the hang of this sometime. Right now it's like being on a roller coster ride to watch any of these and the quality isn't great.

Monday, June 15, 2009

New Business Card Design

In the process of working on a printing project for my congregation I decided new business cards were in order. I'm almost out of the old ones and it's such an easy way to point people to my website or blog. So I played around with it for a few minutes and see what you think, I removed the phone number before I posted cause let's face it - I hate phones and I can barely stand that it has to be printed to begin with, let alone putting it out there on the net. The card matches my website, so that's cool. They should be here shortly.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lovely photos

I sell soap on Saturday mornings at the Farmer’s Market. My lovely friend Paula Delaney blogged about her visit to the Farmer’s Market here. She's got some lovely photos of produce, one of those dogs that's the size of a small horse and me selling soap.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rainbow Progress

These are the first three in the ROYGBIV series, magenta, orange and yellow.
So I finished up the green one and started getting a little bored.
So instead of moving on to the blue (cyan,) which would have been next, I jumped to the violet on the end. And instead of straight stripes, I started into a very fractured section of fabrics going every which way. It made the project interesting all over again.
Then I moved back to the Indigo one, where I blended the fractured stuff with the straight stuff for an interesting mix of shapes.
Finally I moved back to the cyan where I moved more back to the stripes but kept a bit of the fractured look. So one end of the series will have more of the striped look and the other end becomes more fractured as the series progresses.
I'm into the quilting now and this could take a while. I'm also thinking about my living room walls and what color the walls should be to show these to their best advantage. I've got a stack of paint chips, I'll figure it out.
The only furniture in my "living room" is an upholstered bench and a bunch of gallery pedestals for art glass left over from when I was a gallery owner. Living rooms tend to be a little useless, when we hang out we're in the family room where the fireplace and piano are. So we might as well enjoy the living room as a gallery space. I will look into some gallery lighting and see if I can add that to my hubby’s to do list while he has the summer off from teaching. I would love to replace the blue carpet with hardwood but that’s not really the top priority while we're raising money for our adoption. (I’m just grateful that the carpet is not mauve ~ I really really hate 1980's mauve!) So I'm off to do some more quilting and see how this series turns out. It's all about real saturated lusious color and I can't wait to hang these on my wall, light them up and stand back to enjoy them. Yes, yes, YES!

One Quilter's Heritage

I wanted to share my first quilt with all of you. It’s on our bed now, now that we live in a house where we can fairly easily keep the dogs out of the bedrooms. It’s a double wedding ring and the fabric is all commercial cottons in teal, cobalt, blue-violet, purple, red-violet, and magenta. I designed the color ways, the layout and cut all the fabrics. My mother-in-law sewed and I think my sister-in-law may have helped by ironing. The three of us have made a number of quilts together in this way, I design and cut and keep the process moving and the two of them (or maybe the Mennonite grandmas instead of the SIL) keep the assembly line moving.
It’s pretty intense but we’ve made some pretty cool quilts this way and we can come pretty close to making a full bed sized quilt in a day. That’s important since we live in different states and very rarely get together. This quilt was quilted by my mother-in-law and my husband’s Mennonite grandmothers, some of their friends may have added some stitches here and there as well.
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This quilt is one made by my father’s mother. The colors are washed out by direct sunshine, an overcast day would have made better photos. My grandmother was a beautiful Mennonite woman with her ultra conservative dress, a covering with strings and wire rim glasses. She made many beautiful quilts, always with an amazing degree of excellence. Her corners were always perfect and her stitches were tiny and ultra even.

I remember as a child that there was a gathering in Ohio where the quilts were distributed, one for each grandchild. I was the youngest child of her youngest child, and so I got the first choice though I have no idea why they did it that way. I may have been about five or six and when they asked me to choose I pointed immediately at this one. Someone muttered that I had good taste and had chosen the prettiest one. I guess even at that age I responded to colors like these. I have a variety of old quilts, some really amazing examples of Mennonite and Amish artisan design and execution and they are among my very favorite things. I count these quilts along with my heritage as part of my development as an artist and a quilt designer.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rainbow... Green

Ok, so these are starting to feel a little predictable. Next one gets changed up somehow!
Green... in with the rest of them so far. My design wall is full of lots of wonderful color!

Rainbow Series - Yellow

Well, I’ve gotten a little behind on posting these. I think yellow was next, right? This is the third one in the ROYGBIV series. It’s the yellow one.
Here are the first three together... though in order to crop them it throws off the line that runs through the series. At this point they are only pieced, not quilted and I'm not sure if I'm done or if I'll be adding some other stuff yet. They are hand dyed cotton, linen and white on white fabrics plus a bit of commercial batiks. They are roughly 18 x 18 though the first one is the smallest one and it seems like they get bigger and bigger as I keep working on the series.
If you want to join in the challenge, it's not hard. Just make one small quilt for each color of the rainbow - Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. Let me know if you decide to play along.

Lucky Me!

I am the winner of a bracelet by the talented Ms Joanna Curley, see her blog here and her photos of the bracelet.

And this is me wearing the delightful little confection! It’s light as a feather, you don’t even know you’re wearing it. It fits me perfectly and came in a cute little gift box. The detail is marvelous and the color… oh YUM! It could not be more perfect for me! Thank you Joanna! What a lovely treat!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Here is the second one from my Roygbiv series: I’ve made some progress on “Orange” and this one is also about 18 x 18 square pieced. It’s hand dyed cotton, linen and white on white plus some bits of commercial batik. I have sold one piece out of a series in the past and always regretted it, the moment for creating the set had passed and now I’m forever one shy in a series that shouldn’t have been broken up. So I don’t think I’ll be making these available separately, and for a while at least, they will hang in my living room – but maybe talk of such things is premature when I have so much work to do to finish the series.

Next? Yellow!

Want to join the challenge? Create a series of seven small quilts, one for each of the colors listed here: Red, (think Magenta) Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue (think cyan) Indigo and Violet. Post each one as you finish it and please contact me if you're going to join in. I think it will be fun!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Website Update

This is a mixed media piece I made a while back, watercolor, colored pencil, ink and metalic ink on paper. It's now in my bedroom and I love it there.

I have spent some time today working on my website. I spent the afternoon at Oasis Gallery in Harrisonburg, VA where my glass, photography and soap can be found. While I was there I was able to get some work done. There is now content on the painting, cake design, glass, drawing and mixed media pages of my new website. Click here to take a look. It just takes a while to get through all the details of designing a website and getting all the information filled in. You should see my "to do list" now!! I know most people would complete the whole thing and then publish, but I like to work on it as I go because some things just don’t translate very well and require tweaking and experimentation, it is less overwhelming this way. Check it out and if you have problems with the site, please let me know! Feedback is helpful, so please do let me know what you think. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I’ve started a new quilt series, this one inspired by my quilting hero Melody Johnson. It’s based on the traditional “ROYGBIV” rainbow, otherwise known as Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet. I’ll be focusing more on Magenta rather than Red, Cyan rather than Blue and beyond that it should be pretty straight forward. I expect to use this series of seven quilts as the focal point of my living room gallery space when they are complete.

I started out by hand dying and painting a series of cottons, silks and linens. I’m thrilled with how they turned out and have had them laying out on a table in my studio for the better part of a month or so, just waiting for the time and emotional energy to sink myself back into them. May was a difficult month around here. It has been some time since I’ve found “the zone” where the work consumed me and brought me the joy it once did. One of these days the mojo will return, until then I am no less an artist. And so I create.
I’ve started with the Magenta and have an about 18x18 square pieced. This is hand dyed cotton, linen, and white on whites plus some bits of commercial fabric - mostly batik. I am considering all my options at this point so it will be interesting to see where the creative process takes me this time.

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