Monday, November 30, 2009

Green Dress

I didn't over dye this one because I liked the green wool felt's color. I did felt by hand the collar. The necklace was purchased a while ago from Silver Crow Creations which has lots and lots of  cool things. I avoid visiting too often because the temptations are great. Anyway, I love the necklace but found it too short to wear comfortably. I think it adds a nice surprise.

I do feel that I will be able to continue working everyday beyond the Art Every Day Month challenge. I can't believe that I did work all 30 days including Thanksgiving in my studio. I have lots of ideas that are waiting to happen. Back to the studio!

Red Dress

I can't seem to get away from exploring small clothing. For this one I didn't follow a pattern. It's about 14" wide by 18" long. I overdyed the wool felt with chestnut dye. The beads are made out of fimo and the yarn is recycled silk sari. I wove the fabric through cut slits in the wool. I love the organic feel which was the goal. I'm working on a green one and have plans for another which will be even larger. The ideas keep spinning in my head.

Cat's Play

I finished a quilt that I started years ago when I was teaching at a local quilt shop so that I could donate it to the Cat Guardians, a nonprofit, no-kill cat shelter. They are having a silent auction at the
Naperville Art League Fine Art Center
on Saturday, January 9 from noon-4 to raise funds.

I love the fabric I used for the cat. It's all gone now and I'll miss it. It's all hand appliqued and machine quilted. My thirteen year old cat, E.G., was feral. I rescued her from living in a storm sewer not far from my house in Houston. I always credit my dog, Meg, for taming her.  I hope my it will raise some funds and help with the cause. Cats have always been a big part of my life. I've recused many over the years and it has always been worth it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Working, working, working

Sorry that I haven't posted. I have been working and the time flies by and before I know it is dark outside which makes taking photos difficult. Anyway, thanks to everyone who encouraged me to redo the owl for my great niece Makayla. I took the owl apart and sewed the part I forgot the first time so now she has a owl-like body. Next I added buttons for the eyes. I'm happy. Gift done! I went looking for an owl book to include with the bag. However, I fell in love with "One" by Kathryn Otoshi. It's a book about colors, counting and bullying. It's won 8 awards. If you're looking for a book for an 4-8 year old, check it out! From the cover:

Blue is a quiet color.
Red is a hot head.
Red likes to pick on Blue.

Yellow, Green, Purple and Orange don't like what they see, but what can they do?
When no one takes a stand, things get out of hand. Until One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up and count.

This book is too cute!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Recycle, Reuse, Play

This piece started out as a journal quilt that I never really liked. However,  I always liked the bleached background so instead of simply throwing it away, I removed all the applique which left me with pretty much a blank quilt. It's been hanging around my studio for more than a year for my muse to give me a clue. Well today she spoke. I took leftovers from one of my dresses, started layering and cutting. Just playing around. I'm not sure if I've stuck a fork in it yet. I feel I need to give it some time before declaring it done. It wasn't as much fun as the dresses but I do like exploring layering and I love making art every day. Hoping I can keep this up long after the end of the month.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Snake Dress

This was the first dress that I started and the most difficult to figure out how to finish. I think I like layering more. I'd do it differently if I was doing it again but we all have to start somewhere. It's been a journey to let go of perfectionism and learn from experience.  I do want to make a few more dresses. I'm spending time thinking about what I want to do to the canvases I bought to mount them on.

I've been thinking a lot about intention, showing up and creating. I've noticed that committing to doing art/creating everyday has brought me an exquisite calm and clarity, a lightness of being. I'm excited about life. It feels good!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Owl Bag

Okay, several people have e-mailed me asking about the owl bag for my great niece. I'm still not sure about the owl. It certainly does not look like the pattern so it may get remade. I'm letting it rest before making a decision. I only want Makayla to be happy. It was fun to make and I love the idea of the removable owl. The tote is fleece with a fairy fabric lining (I'm thinking "tree fairies.") and the rest is hand dyed wool felt.  I added a inside pocket because I love pockets and who doesn't need one in a tote! And of course, I am going to make her a fun travel-size tissue cozy to go in the pocket. Can't help myself. I'm just playing and having fun. I truly think this is all happening because I made the commitment to doing Art Every Day Month. It's amazing what happens when you still goals and follow your heart.

Share the Love

Kim Mason shares a tutorial on how to make a travle-size tissue cozy on her blog an oft traveled road. I loved the idea of giving people two--one to keep and one to share. I have to tell you these are quite addicting as you can see by what I did last night. I made 17! I plan to make more. They are easy to make and quite satisfying. Almost instant gratification.

Can't wait to start sharing but first I have to go buy travel-size tissue packages. I am hoping people will share with me the stories about their sharing. Thanks Kim!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

All Dressed Up for Play Part 2

I worked some more on the purple, bird dress. I added beads around the neck and lace on the bottom. I'm sticking a fork in it and calling it done! I'm happy. Now I have to start working on the canvas.

I also finished the gold dress. I really think it is my favorite. I loved using old earring pieces. Definitely relieves the guilt from having saved them since the 70"s when I wore long, dangling earrings.

My third dress is creating some problems as I don't feel that it is as complete and interesting as the other two. It was my first attempt. I think I need some sleep and fresh eyes. This really are quite addicting!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

All Dressed Up for Play

I spent the day playing with my friend Barbara. We talked, ate good food, entertained her husky Drift and created. A perfect day. I was so inspired by bags  that Barbara had made that came home and worked until midnight on a cute bag for one of my great nieces. It has a tree on the outside of the bag with a stuffed owl that can be taken in and out. It felt so good to have a Christmas gift made! But I'm really getting away from what I wanted to share. Sorry it's just the thrill of getting a gift done that has gotten me distracted from my actual mission.

I spent the day working on a series of little dresses inspired by a Quilting Arts' article (holiday 2008-2009 issue) by Jamie Fingal. They are made with a wool felt base and are about 10" wide from sleeve to sleeve and about 10"  long. I have three in progress and sharing the one that is closest to being complete. I can't believe how much fun they are to  make. I plan to mount them on canvases so stay tuned for more.

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Art from the Heart Auction" - Supporting Art for Children

I am honored to donate a skull mask to the "Art from the Heart Auction" at the National Museum of Mexican Art on December 5 from 4-7 to raise money so that the museum can continue to offer free art programs for children. The NMMA is the only museum in Chicago that spends a third of its budget on arts education. It is also the only major museum in Chicago that has free admission. Tickets for the event are $30 per person and you don't need to be present to win. Support this worthy cause!

"Far Away"

My mother-in-law has Alzheimer's. She loved taking the train from Valparaiso, where she lived, to Chicago. When she was at the point where her memory was going, an image flashed her memory being like looking through a key hole so I decided to make a quilt based on that flash.  The photo is by my friend Ron Porras. There was a time when the Sear's Tower was lite with different colored lights at night. I beaded the edge because I happen to love beading the edges of quilts. I used organza, foiling, hand stitching and couching. I think it is a nice little quilt. I hope whatever home it ends up in loves it. I sure had fun making it.

What I create with my hands, I give with my heart

It's not easy to create with swollen eyes on antihistamines so I decided to take a pattern I had already created for the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative and make it a little different. Both quilts are titled "Hope is as Light as a Feather." My grandmother use to say, "Hope might be as light as a feather but look what little birds can do with feathers." I have made the $1,000 Promise which means I've agreed to raise at least $1,000 for Alzheimer's research by making Priority Quilts. Priority Quilts were named because they must fit into a USPS Priority envelope. I'm really close to the goal so it feels good to be making quilts for the cause again. The buttons on the quilt are made from fimo and were a gift from my friend Kathy Pierpoline for my birthday. I think they add a nice touch to the quilt.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Eyes Swollen Shut

I woke to my left eye and left nostril just about swollen shut and my right eye swollen. Obviously a reaction to something. I think my cat but I'm not sure. I did make art but posting it will have to happen tomorrow. Life presents its challenges, doesn't it?

Monday, November 9, 2009


The weather was too glorious especially after our cold, grey, rainy October to stay inside so I used every opportunity to be outside. I raked leaves (even took a pile from my neighbor's yard to the street), cleaned out my pond (gross), cleaned up my front porch and put up Christmas lights. I was tired but still wanted to do art. Many months ago I bought Zentangle ( an inspiration aand creation by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. I love to doodle so this seemed perfect for me. I love how the directions tell you to take a deep breath or two which I did. Actually I love all their directions and I definitely will keep this close at hand. It's very relaxing and very addicting. I encourage you to check it out!

The other thing that I did was spend some time visiting the sites of people doing Art Every Day Month and I was so impressed. What a great community full of so much inspiration!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What's Next?

I love manipulating fabric and one of my favorite ways is with bleach. I love those moments when something clicks and that is exactly what happened with this piece. I took a cheap, simple grass rubberstamp and used it to create the image. I am pleased and stuck. I don't know what to do next. The muse is remaining silent. She is like that some times. I've considered writing text in the center. I've thought about borders or making it a part of something larger. I love the Irish proverb ,"It is in the shelter of each other that people live," so what are your thougths? Maybe you can help me coax my muse out of hiding. Thanks!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lots of Cleaning and a Little Art

I got the cleaning bug today. I do believe this is related to the Art Every Day Month challenge. I think I want my environment to reflect my artistic mindset and besides, it felt good and it feels good!  I did made a little ATC. I am new to making ATCs and love them. Unfortunately, I don't have anyone to trade so if you're interested let me know. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Putting Stretch Marks on My Comfort Zone

When my friend Elizabeth Owen asked me to participate in a Tarot card exchange, I said "yes" even though I truly don't know that much about Tarot. However, I like to occasionally do things that frighten me. The cards needed to be based on a work of Edgar Allan Poe. Well, when I got the Page of Wands panic is exactly what I did for days. This was not going to be easy. I read Poe poetry for days and my panic subsided a little when I came across his poem "Dreams" which seemed to fit.


Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream!
My spirit not awak`ning, till the beam
Of an Eternity should bring the morrow:
Yes! tho` that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,
`Twere better than the dull reality
Of waking life to him whose heart shall be,
And hath been ever, on the chilly earth,
A chaos of deep passion from his birth !

But should it be - that dream eternally
Continuing - as dreams have been to me
In my young boyhood - should it thus be given,
`Twere folly still to hope for higher Heaven!
For I have revell`d, when the sun was bright
In the summer sky; in dreamy fields of light,
And left unheedingly my very heart
In climes of mine imagining - apart
From mine own home, with beings that have been
Of mine own thought - what more could I have seen?

`Twas once & only once & the wild hour
From my rememberance shall not pass - some power
Or spell had bound me - `twas the chilly wind
Came o`er me in the night & left behind
Its image on my spirit, or the moon
Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon
Too coldly - or the stars - howe`er it was
That dream was as that night wind - let it pass.

I have been happy - tho` but in a dream
I have been happy - & I love the theme -
Dreams! in their vivid colouring of life -
As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife
Of semblance with reality which brings
To the delirious eye more lovely things
Of Paradise & Love - & all our own!
Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known.

My first attempt failed. I tried to not let it get me down and now that the second card is finished, I'm actually quite happy the first attempt failed. This is done with a collage technique that uses polymer medium and heat. I'm new to it and really like it. I drew the sun and colored it in with Prisma color pencils and rubber stamped the stars and "Page of Wands." Since the Page is young, I found a photo of Poe as a youth. The checkerboard is from an envelope. I do love them. Anyway, I stretched, overcame fear and failure and lived to tell another tale. Now I can only hope the other artists are happy. I am.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Time for Play

Whenever I finish something that has taken a lot of time or has required a lot of thought, I try to just play. I think it is important to play. Remember when play was such a large part of our lives. Last night I was thinking about all the falling stars I wished upon as a child. I wonder how many were granted that I have long forgotten. And more importantly, when did I stop wishing upon them. I am preparing my next wish. When did you make your last wish.

Okay, back to the art. I wanted to do something that express "growth" so I doodled and wrote until I settled on "grow where you are planted." I've moved a lot in my adult life and this has been something I have tried to do. I've been saving the old glass leaf beads for years and I love them not only in the piece but also because they are no longer in a drawer in my closet. I'm finally stopped saving and started using. It feels good!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Going Organic Part 2

I worked more than 8 hours yesterday and can now report that it is done! The piece is difficult to photograph but I think I got a decent enough detail that you get the idea. I really like the copper beads and have decided to call this piece "Points of Light." It continues my theme of connections although this is not what I intended in the beginning. I love using Laura Wasilowski's threads This one is called burnt marshmallow. I managed to loose two skeins of it in my travels. One on the airplane returning home from Houston. I got three rows of people looking with no luck. The other was left behind in a motel in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. I hope the maid kept it. I don't know the fiber content of the fabric but it was scratchy. I can tell you it stretched and won't stick to the batting not matter what I tried so I simply gave up. I just tried to flow. It's 18" by 25". I think today's piece will just be playful but I'm still not ready to give up handwork. Enjoy!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Going Organic

It took me years to figure out that I could let work rest until it was ready. Sometimes my muse just isn't talking so I have learned to be patient. This is one of those pieces where at the time (several years ago)I just wasn't sure what to do so I set it aside. I've always loved handwork. I find it meditative, relaxing. When I took it out of storage, I knew immediately what I wanted to do. I've spent more hours doing the embroidery work than I care to admit but I'm really liking it more and more. Sorry for the bad photo. I'll try to post a better one tomorrow.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Anais Ninn Day

This morning when I turned my Brush Dance calendar to reveal November, I was greeted by a quote from Anais Nin, "The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself," and the word "growth." Last night I was reading and came across another Anais Nin quote, "People living deeply have no fear of death." So these quotes have been on my mind as I work today and are fitting for my month's work. How can I live deeply? How can making art contribute to my living deeply? I do know that I often want my art to educate and so in that spirit, I offer my Woman of Juarez Spirit Doll.