About Me

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Michigan/Arizona, United States
I am a textile artist who loves to design fabric by painting, printing, stamping, and manipulating cloth.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Another Box

     Ok, I'm hooked.  My mind is boggling with new ideas involving The Box (including a collapsible version that can be shipped or packed away when not in use).  But first I decided to figure out a way to use some of my "finished" wool pieces.

     You might recognize the little squares from a larger example on my previous post.  After cutting the 9 patch out in one piece, I unstitched the remaining pieces and restitched them down on new backgrounds. The blue square will become a pocket.

     Using the same process as before, I ironed the pieces to my fusible interfacing--much trickier because of the wool, cut-out squares, and buttons, and I ended up sewing the 9 patch in place.

     The completed box works perfectly as a holder for "works in progress" (of which I have many!).

     And another view showing the pocket holding my crochet hooks (I'm planning to learn so I can make some of those cunning little flowers in the near future).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My "Sweater" Stash

     Since I've already confessed about my boxes of wool sweater pieces, I decided to haul one out and expose a bit of one of my obsessions:

     This is my "green/turquoise" crate which contains 10 ziplock bags of individual sweaters, many of which were prepped and processed at my daughter's kitchen table during the summer of 2010 (I also used many gallons of her hot water and pulled bags of wool lint from her dryer screen). 

    Having a very small portion of left-brain function,  I cut a swatch from each sweater which I glued and numbered onto a piece of card stock by color.  Unfortunately I have since added to my expanding collection and haven't kept up with the system.  Very typical. . . .

     And the contents of one bag--leftovers, actually, since I've already used quite a lot of this color in several projects.  Hmmmmm, I may have to start hitting the thrift shops again before heading for AZ ( I don't have hot water in my laundry room out there).

And a couple of ways I have used my stash:

     I really love working with felted wool.  It's easy to cut (no fraying). It sews like butter.  The colors blend together in fun ways.  I'm addicted.  I'm also into collecting buttons. . . .

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Stuff Boxes

     I started something new this week (also got this idea from Jane LaFazio) which I am going to call Stuff Boxes.  I'm using my recently-painted fabric and some upcycled "stuff."

     This was my first box:  torn up jeans (including a pocket) and scraps of painted fabric fused to heavy-duty interfacing and stitched together.  I turned it into an art bin.

     This kinda shows the interior of the box.  I put a couple of small plastic containers inside to separate my pens and puff paint.  Also a small journal.  I love it!!!

     And here's another, made in the same way, but smaller (5 x 5 instead of 6 x6).  This time I didn't use jeans, only the fabric I had painted last week, both inside and out, and I even constructed a simple pocket on the front.  I also added a divider for the inside (I found out it perfectly fits 4 empty Activia yogurt containers to hold the STUFF!).  This one may end up in the shop.

And one final box:  I took some pictures of the final stages before finishing.

     This one's a bit different.  I found an old wool vest that had been taking up storage space since I retired from teaching (13 years ago!!!) and decided it would be fun to use.  Pairing the vest with cut up jeans, I again fused each piece to the interfacing and stitched around the whole thing with yarn.

     Here's the inside of the box--just jeans (dug out of same cedar closet as vest). 

     And the finished box.  I'm thinking this could be another use for all of that felted wool tucked away in bags from last year's sweater explosion (I have 5 milk crates full). 

     My Book Box, which sits beside my chair and holds library books and bookmarks perfectly.  Yippee!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Using my Stash

     Yesterday I painted fabric out in the garage (inspired by Sew Wild) and completed several small notepads I'll put in the "Preparing for Christmas" pile.  Constructing these notepads is kind of a pain, but the ladies love them as stocking stuffers, so I continue to look for ways of making the making more fun for me.  After free-motion stitching organza over some hand-printed fabric leftovers, I hauled out my stash of felted wool (last summer's bonanza of thrift-store sweaters, washed in hot water, cut up, and stored by color in zip-lock bags) and selected several pieces that seemed to match my fabric choice.

     I first cut out a long stem, several sets of leaves, and a bunch of small berries from the "felt," then arranged the pieces across my prepared fabric, and finally stitched everything down.

     And one of the completed notepads::

Friday, September 16, 2011

Trial runs and another fabric

    I tore the flower fabric into smallish squares, made some simple flowers (pieces of fabric fused together, free-motions stitched, and cut out), and now I'm deciding on a background. 

     Yesterday, I thought this background was OK, but this morning it seems a bit dull.  Hmmmm. . . .

     I need to get a larger piece of the light purple fabric before I make a choice--also some smaller black buttons.  Nothing is sewn down yet.

         I'm still not sure--this one may be too bright.  I'm going to sew down the flowers and buttons, then mount each piece to 5 x 5 foam core and lay them out together on each background to evaluate.

     And here's another piece inspired by Sew Wild.  Again, I used an old gelatin print on which to do my scripting.  Because the print was made last October using fallen leaves, I decided to write my thoughts about that wonderful season.  I'm not sure what I'll do with this one--probably stick it back in the "check me out" drawer and wait for inspiration.

     I also plan to try this technique using plain white fabric so I can use other colors of ink.  On this one, if I tried to add other colors, they blended with the background and lost their impact.  Oh well, I still enjoyed playing with different styles of writing and will do some practice on paper before the next attempt.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fun New Book!!!

    Last week I ordered a new book from Interweave Press, Sew Wild, by Alisa Burke. and received it on Monday.  Since then I have been facinated by all of the great processes and projects included in its colorful pages, AND there's a DVD which inspires to the max.  I have resolved to work my way through the entire book, one technique at a time.

     This is a partially-completed piece which started out as a 15 x 18 inch gelatin print that I didn't like very much (Alisa used white broadcloth in the book, but I decided to recycle).  The rest is black Sharpie pen and a lot of fun doodling. I actually finished it last night and already have plans to tear it up for bits and pieces here and there.  I can visualize at least one Art X 3, and the book has loads of ideas for using scraps. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vintage Pages completed

     These pages are a lot different from my previous work, but I did enjoy using more paper than paint for a change (I do miss the colors!).

     This was my mother's cousin, Catherine, who lived nearby in a beautiful home (her husband was a lawyer) while I was growing up.  I used to babysit for her when I was in high school.  Fond memories. . . .

     My favorite aunt, my mother's sister, Lena.  She and my uncle had no children, but they had a knack of making me feel welcome--I loved going to visit.  Aunt Lena was a fastidious housekeeper and always dressed beautifully.  She became my girls "grandmother" after my mother died, and made them her special companions.  She lived to be 92.

     And my Mom. She was a stay-at-home wife and mother who was always involved in many activities and valued education (she had put herself through college as a nanny).  She loved to sew and made most of my clothes, including several beautiful prom dresses.  Unfortunately, she died of breast cancer in 1965 at the age of 56.  I was only 26 (do the math) and my daughters were 4 and 1 years old.  Karen has vague memories of her which involve food, but Amy has none.  I regret that Mom and I didn't really get to know each other as adults, but I had a wonderful childhood.

Monday, September 12, 2011

One finished, another started

Here's the completed Art X 3 of the collaged gelatin prints using my chosen fabric background:

      I'm now in the process of putting together another piece using scraps of felted fabric left over from a project last winter.  I had three small sections of two different (but related) materials, none of which were large enough to make a 5 x 5 inch square.  Solution:  I cut them up into 3 x 2 and 2 x 2 pieces and sewed them back together again.  (Forgot to take pictures in progress!!!)  If you look closely at the photos below, you can see the seams.

     After constructing all three squares, I used a stencil to emboss a piece of sheet copper with three different leaves, cut them out. and sewed one down on each square.

     Last night I stitched small x's (using copper metalic embroidery thread) across the background of each piece, but this morning I'm not sure I like the whole effect--too many, too small.  I may snip them out and add a few larger, more scattered  X's using the same thread.  Hmmmmm.

     And here's the third square on a piece of brown art paper.  I am thinking of using this over the foam core and adding a bit of purple Lumiere paint with some copper shadows.  I'll try it out on a scrap before committing.  I'll be back. . . .

Sunday, September 11, 2011

In Memory of. . . .

     The past few days I have been putting together several journal pages which commemorate four women who shaped my past:  mother, aunts, and second cousin.  All of the pages have a vintage feel since the women were all born in the early part of the 1900's.  I'm going to show a few details of how the pages were created:

     These scraps were taken from old sheet music and the pages of a ladies' magazine, Modern Priscilla, published in 1923.  I found several of these magazines last winter at an antique shop in AZ and have been using little bits of them in my collages and journal pages ever since.  Love them!!!  The paper practically melts onto the page.

     Next, I washed over the scraps with watered-down gesso, then added a bit of color using a purple Caron d' Ache water-soluble crayon and some pieces of wonderful old gift wrap (found in another antique shop, this time in Monterey, CA).

     I used my script stamp and two home-made ones for the next layer.  The pictured stamps were constructed using sticky-backed fun foam and a ballpoint pen--they take a bit of muscle, but are really quite fun to make (Melanie Testa has a great tutorial on her blog).

     These lines from one of my favorite poems, "Dirge without Music" by Edna St. Vincent Millay, were printed on my old standby--teabags.

     The finished page:  I added a window and woman from the magazine, the engagement portrait of my dad's sister, Valda, as well as the first stanza of the poem (words meld into the background a bit--which is probably good--the poem is a bit maudlin).  After adding a bit more color wash, I filled in the flower petals with darker purple. The other three pages will all be similar--using basically the same materials and format.  I'll publish them together when finished.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


    I can't believe I'm posting twice in one day, but I saw something on Jane LaFazio's blog this morning that had my creative juices bubbling.  First, I dug into my drawer of gelatin-printed fabric and found a bunch of scraps (most of these pieces were actually printed last winter, in Arizona, where I had to use a purchased bouquet from the grocery store).

     I  then cut out three backgrounds,started collaging, and free-hand snipped some leaf stalks (a bit similar to Jane's, I'm afraid . . .).

Collage 1

     Collage 2

Collage 3

     All of the pieces measure @ 5.5 inches and will become another Art X 3.  I actually finished all of the sewing today!!!!!!!!!!

     Now for the backing--I decided I'd try fabric this time by previewing several different shades and patterns of aqua blue.  

     I think I know the one I like best, but I'll mull for a while and then adhere the fabric to a piece of foam core and glue down the collages.  Another post coming soon.

Journaling Work Space

    A quick entry to show you the COMPACT area in my kitchen where I work on art journaling and other mixed-media stuff:

     This what it looks like at the end of the day after I've put everything away!!!  I'll try to remember to take another picture of "work in progress."  Yikes.  (Hmmmm, I also need to remember to staighten that picture.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

And Some More

     I am working on other projects, but my journal pages seem to be the only thing I'm really completing right now.  The following pages all involve flowers (a diversion from birds!), stencils, stamps (again my favorites), a few Tim Holtz butterflies, and a flower quote printed on tissue paper and put down with gel medium.  I like the results, but I think I need to branch out and try something new.  Stay tuned.

     As you can tell from the above pages (as well as most of my other journaling entries), I seem to work best when I pick a "theme" and use the same processes to explore it for a few pages.  Having a very small space in which to work on my journaling, I find that limiting the supplies used for a project keeps the clean-up time to a minimum.  I can easily put all of my chosen work items and ephemera into my Current Project box until finished.   By the way, this "art corner" is in my kitchen!!! 

Monday, September 5, 2011

More Journal Pages

     I'm trying to get into the habit of posting several time a week, so I'm sharing some pages that were finished quite a while ago (actually when I was out in Rhode Island visiting my daughter, Karen).  These pages all involve a bird of some kind.

       Because I had just used a coupon at Michael's for Tim Holtz's resist paper stash, I decided to use bits and pieces for the next few pages.  The flying swallow was cut out from one of his pages as well as small scraps of music.

     Here the TH paper was torn and glued down, then stenciled and stamped over.  I used my "go to" script stamp as well as one of my homemade erasers.  The condor head came from National Geo (I was lucky enough to see one in person several years ago at the Grand Canyon).

     The prairie chicken is again from National Geo (they have the best bird photos) and the TH paper is a vintage-looking account entry.  I thought this seemed appropriate since this bird is very endangered.  Stamps are script and "eraser."

     This one was just for fun!  The bird and the egg didn't really belong together, but the "expression" on the crane's face fits.