Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Dancing the Embroidery Dance

Santa brought me an extra sewing machine! One with a gazillion embroidery stitches. Now I have to view the video and study the manual. Very excited because I can bring my old one to ny and keep the new one in my studio. Any tips on machine embroidery are welcome since I know nothing about it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Two feet under and shoveling fast

Eastern Long Island got dumped with snow last night. Here's a few pix I snapped around the yard.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

2009 Breast Cancer Strength and Memory Quilt

This is the quilt I made for work as a breast cancer fundraiser during the November breast cancer awareness month. I took orders from anyone in the hospital who wanted to buy a square (well, donate $ to the American Cancer Society and get a quilt square as a bonus.) I scanned in the pretty pink floral that they were using on all their fundraising materials and used it as a backgroud on some of the squares. I ironed cotton to freezer paper, cut it to 8.5 x 11, and fed it thru the inkjet printer and, viola!, instant quilt squares. My challenge was that I could NOT sew it, I had to use wonder under and glue and a hot glue gun and some nasty glue backed felt left over from last year that someone else ordered. The carpentry shop made a nice wood and glass case for it so it won't get wrecked by time, NY soot and dirty hands. (Picture is kind of blurry because of the glass case.)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Lot On My Mind

This is a little piece I did one day when I was feeling kind of overwhelmed and pulled in 1000 directions at the same time. I called it "A Lot On My Mind" for obvious reasons. And it, for a change, is NOT a self portrait, just a generic woman of no particular age...but I AM working on a self portrait for the QA InnerAnimal Challenge. Want to guess what my inner animal is?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Mirror Image Fabric

These are the samples of my own designs that I ordered from Spoonflower. I chose the mirror repeat because you don't have to fiddle with putting it in repeat and repainting the whole thing to step and repeat it. It gave the pink one a kind of William Morris effect, the abstract one a kind of psychadelic feeling and the pink roses floral a bit of a tie-dyed effect. It is soooo cool to have some yardage on my own designs instead of little swatches printed from the computer.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Art Deco

I work in a hospital that was built in the 1930s.(No, I'm not a medical professional. I write and design their monthly newsletter, quarterly magazine and do any other creative things that need doing.)

The entrance is surrounded by imposing pillars with really great art deco details, so I snapped a few shots of them; I love the geometry. I tried taking some rubbings recently...I took a yard of white cotton and a black paintstik out into the parking lot/driveway/entrance on my lunch hour. I wasn't too successful..the pillars were kind of high and it was hard to get a good rubbing without a ladder, so I will try and work up a design from these photos.

Many people think the pillars are merely a bench to hang out on while they take a smoke break or wait for the shuttle bus. I felt kind of ridiculous and touristy taking my rubbings and photos but since I had on my official ID, the hospital police did't arrest me.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Spoonflower Samples

Here are the samples I sent for from Spoonflower. Tried to post them on my SAQA Visioning page but as usual had technical problems. They are 8x8", washable, usable soft cotton, and I am happy with their quality.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mandalas at Lunch

My art time has shrunk since I started my new job (when is a new job no longer new? hmmmm...) so I have been sneaking in some small drawings at lunch. In my little sketchbook, I trace around a CD with pencil, and randomly draw what ever flows out. Since I mostly have on hand yellow highlighters and pencils, many of the mandalas (circular designs) are yellow. After a while I broke down and bought some markers in other colors that I tucked into my drawer. Unsurprisingly, textiley designs emerged.

The drawing process calms me down and is very meditative (check into Jung and his mandala work...very cool) so these are pretty much the opposite of what I usually do. I printed a few out on fabric, and made this triptych with woven brass and copper mesh (with an underlay of colored fabric--pink under the copper and olive under the brass.) I stitched it all to peltex so it would be firm and be able to stand.

Lately I have been so busy that I don't even have time for my full lunch hour because I am working on a "Strength and Memory" Quilt as a breast cancer fundraiser. I have taken orders for different size pieces and printed the messages out on pink or white cotton with calligraphy fonts, then fused it to some glue-backed felt (nasty stuff, but I was required to use up the supplies that were left over from last year). Unbelievably, I was forbidden to SEW it (my boss once made a quilt, so she knows how long it takes.) So, I'm almost done...just waiting for a few last minute orders from the nursing department. Then I can have my lunch hour back!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

grrrr...RGB and CMYK are driving me crazy

Well, hopefully this is the turning square in the colors I want. I saved it as CMYK, but it is showing up on the blog all ugly and blueish.

Spoonflower...have I died and gone to Heaven?

Someone from my SAQA visioning group pointed me to Spoonflower, a site where you can send them a design and they will print your fabric. It seems a little expensive, about $18/yard, but when you consider that it costs thousands to commercially print a design, its pretty cheap.

So, now I have to decide: out of my gazillion paintings, drawings and textile designs, what do I start with? Will they put it in repeat right? so there are no "track marks" running up and down the fabric where it repeats? Can they do watercolor effects, color traps or will it be just flat color?

Well, these are a couple old designs I am toying with sending. My question can they do this for only $18 a yard? What kind of equipment do they have? and where can I get some so I can do it myself?

Oh, GRRRRR, got my CMYK and RGB color mixed up. Hopefully the turning square will have the right colors now!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Random Design

When I first discovered that there were markers made just for drawing directly onto fabric, I could hardly contain my excitement. I was skeptical, so I left Sam Flax, went out into the streets of NY, and purchased an "I love NY" t-shirt from a sidewalk vendor. I scooted back into Flax, and tested the markers on it.

Sure enough, it worked, with no bleeding or smearing. I spent the evening doodling on the fabric, and this design flowed out. I haven't decided what to do with it. Any suggestions? (well, I did cut a little bit off and make postcards...and one was in Cloth Paper Scissors back when I wrote my article "Painting Out the Panic"...but I still have a couple big hunks of the design left over.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

More Visioning Samples

I stumbled on some old designs as I was looking for something else on my bookshelf. I was putting some recent graphic work in a binder and, while looking for more clear plastic sleeves to go in my binder, pulled out an old binder full of designs. I step and repeated this red design and printed it on fabric, which can be seen on my SAQA visioning page. Here is the original design and a possible colorway. I did them from a couple of little doodles that I scanned and arranged in a fuillard (traditional set, uniform layout, like in a man's tie) pattern.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

SAQA Visioning Project

I recently signed up for the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) Visioning Project. It will be a year-long project, and each participant can set their own goal, pursue any fibery dream, big or small.

I have always wanted to have my very own fabric line, an idea that is just tooooo expensive to do on a big scale. Thanks to modern technology, I can print my own designs, directly from my computer, right onto fabric. I decided to do small pieces (about 8.5" x 11") and present them as a salesperson from a big textile manufacturer would: on headers (basically a printed cardboard piece with the company's name, logo, address, along with the pattern name/number.) I may also make a swatch book, with smaller pieces of the cloth in different colorways, like the books they have in decorating stores.

You can find out more information by going to You have to be a member to sign up though, but it is only $50 per year.

These are two designs I did a while back for the Dixie "Art of the Plate" contest (which I did not win, but it was fun anyway.) I may translate them into fabric for my new line, called, unsurprisingly, Edzellinni Fabrics. Both of these designs started as doodles, which I developed into circular designs for a plate. It was fun and challenging working with a circular design, after years and years of square or rectangular formats.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Angelina Experiments

Inspired by the book Angelina, Between the Sheets, I tried my hand at working with the glimmery fiber. I started by trying to emboss my hand cut stamp designs into angelina fibers. It worked, but wasn't anything that wowed me. Next I tried cutting pieces of fused Angelina sheets, and ended up creating a checkerboard effect on black felt. Instead of sewing them on, I outlined them with squeezable gold fabric paint. I had some of my hand-rolled, recycled tyvek beads hanging around, and they just matched. The piece is unfinished, and it is temporarily pinned to a background of torn tissue fabric.

Postmark d'Art: black and white

After months of puttering, delays and interruptions, I finally finished my black and white postcards for my postmark d'Art group exchange. I made three styles: one with my own fabric design, done from a doodle, that was printed on cotton directly from my inkjet printer. It has a center print of one of my small, handcarved stamps, printed on cotton with black acrylic. The other two are done from expanded squares, and printed onto either Avery cotton or t-shirt transfer sheets. I kept the stitching minimal on all of them. If you look closely, one of the expanded squares has my daughter's initials (AKW) along with the number 2 for one of her birthday digits.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Exquisite Corpse Dolls

A few years ago, my daughter came home from school talking about a project they had done in art class...exquisite corpse drawings. As she explained the concept, I realized that I had done it years ago. We gave it a try, folding paper up, drawing part of a body, then switching and drawing the next section to connect with the unseen portions of the other's drawing. We came up with some pretty wild stuff!

Periodically we remember the art game, and give it a try again. Over the years I have amassed quite a collection of strangely charming little creatures. I decided recently to scan some of my favorites and print them on fabric, and then I stitched the edges and stuffed them to make little dolls. Amanda likes to draw animals, so the kitty, monkey or dog faces are hers. Mine are usually humanoid but some show my fascination with space aliens. We both like bright colors, crazy boots and textured tights...I guess it is my inner 60s child coming out and Amanda's secret desire to have been born in a different era (one with better music and fashions) showing through.

It is a great art game for people of all ages and abilities...give it a try!

Monday, August 17, 2009

1960s Revisited

I was pretty much a little kid in the 60s, but I still coveted the Carnaby Street fashions. This allover altered square pattern reflects my inner go-go girl.

Expanded Squares, Altered Squares

Lately I have been returning to my textile design roots. I have been playing with altered squares. You take a black paper square, divide it (with a pencil) into 4 equal parts, and cut out shapes. Then you flip the cutout negative space out of the black section and glue it all on white paper so there are mirror images of the cutout.

The black and white image is my square. The turquoise one is the image reduced and stepped and repeated in photoshop. I flipped the second row 180 degrees.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


A while back one of my art exchange groups did a valentine trade. We made a variation on inchies, which we called "thrinchies" because they were 3" x 3". Using six, I made this little quilted treasure box. My contribution, made with thin layers of torn cottons and a cut-out gold heart that I stamped on fabric (using my own hand-cut stamp) makes up the top. The left side is from Sonja in Hawaii, and has her hand-painted flowers. The right (with the heart and soul stamp) is from Kate in Texas. The sides of the thrinchies were sewn together and I added the beading. Oddly, I don't actually keep any treasures in the box...anyone have any ideas on what should go inside?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Testing, Testing 1-2-3

Last night I posted a photoshopped self portrait. It should have had a lot of bright colors on a yellow background. Instead, it came up blue with muddy colors. I asked my teckie guru at work why it happened, and he said maybe I should change the colors from CMYK to RGB. Let's see if it works.

Saved by Jose, master of photoshop and all things technical in cyber-space! Here it is, my yellow self-portrait, painted without any paint, thanks to the wonders of photoshop!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Painting Without Paint

A few weeks ago I took a course in Photoshop. Of course, I only learned about 1/10 of what I wanted, and needed, to learn. I puttered around tonight with my usual subject matter—me. Well, maybe I take after Frida; she painted herself because she was the only subject she had readily available. I guess I don't mind if I make myself weird or ugly, but other people seem to get offended if they come out odd-looking.

So, here is my non-painted self-portrait painting. Time permitting, I will print it on fabric and stitch it up and see how it looks with with some real paint splashed on top.

OMG: This is so strange, it is not what I have on my desktop. Mine has a yellow background; this is blue. The blue is yellow, the red is blue, there is no brown, no olive, purple turned to red, orange turned to purple. What is going on in cyber space?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Scenic Hudson and Beyond

I went to upstate New York (for a family reunion) on Amtrak this weekend, a trip I have taken many, many times over the past 40 years. On the way up, I happened to sit next to a well-known photographer, who was snapping away with her top-of-the-line camera through the train window, getting some very cool shots.

On the way home I scrambled for the right side of the train, and snagged a window seat. Inspired by the photojournalist, I too snapped my way from Syracuse to New York, sticking the camera up against the glass as we whizzed and chugged along, looking at the old, familiar countryside through the eye of a digital camera.

It was interesting to see the landscape change, from the decaying upstate cities (similar to the midwest rust belt) and fields of cows wandering in wildflowers, to the swanky homes and yacht clubs on the banks of the Hudson, just outside New York.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mixed Media Dancing Clown

This is unfinished, and has been for a while. I just can't seem to find time to figure out how to edge and finalize it. It is a group effort: 7 artists (plus me) each did a section. It is from a photo of my daughter, Amanda (now nearly 21) that was taken when she was about 3, playing a clown in a ballet recital. I blew up the photo about 500%, divided the photo into eight sections, then sent 7 people in my art groups each a black and white section.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pink Journal

This is an oldie but goodie: the cover from one of the first journals I made during the beginning of my self-imposed art therapy healing path. I decided to keep anything that inspired me in the book. I put in poetry, my own writing, design ideas, photos torn from magazines, sketches and insights.

The cover was done by priming a commercial journal (about 9x12) with white latex, then painting over it. I used oil pastels (a.k.a.craypas) along with oils, and scratched texture into it when it was drying. I love mushing the color around, blending some parts but not others, drawing with the craypas onto the wet surface, scraping off/rubbing off parts and repainting. The hard part is knowing when to stop so you don't overwork a piece.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Meet Elsa!

This charming, one-of-a-kind sock monkey was a Christmas gift from my daughter, Amanda. She secretly went on-line and found a sock monkey pattern, then found a monkeyish sock at the local K-Mart, and did her designing when I wasn't home. Amanda is a writer, and doesn't think of herself as an artist (although she is quite good) and really doesn't enjoy sewing so creating Elsa was a true labor of love.

Elsa arrived naked, so I recently made her little wardrobe with some soy-batik fabric and a little red felt; the buttons are actually covered brads. Thanks Amanda!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Collaging Like a Maniac and Loving Every Minute

I recently joined a new postcard exchange group at the urging of a fiber-addict friend. At first I thought maybe I was overloading myself with projects and regreted commiting to it, but after I went into creative overdrive this weekend I knew it was just the thing I needed to get out of my rut.

I made two styles: one collaged tissue paper with a hand carved stamp overprint and the other a collage of painted, distressed, recycled tyvek (from used fedex envelopes) combined with metal mesh, foil gum wrappers and gold painted coffee cup sleeves.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ugly Orange Portrait

I joined a new art group, called Thread Society. Apparently a lot of members are really fascinated by different colors, textures and qualities of thread. I pretty much joined because a friend told me they were doing self-portraits, which is one of my favorite things to do...and also because the rules only required you to use 4" of thread to qualify. I'm not really into the quilty aspect of fiber art, but I CAN manage to sew 4" with thread.

I actually don't like this piece, but am posting it anyway. It started out with a recent photo of me (if you want to see the photo, it is in the back of Cate Prato's book "Mixed Media Self Portraits." [In photos I don't look nearly as crazy as my self portraits do, so I guess I am just crazy on the inside.])

I played with the photo in photoshop, tested out a bunch of filters, then brought pieces of different treatments into one document in a kind of Mondrian-inspired layout, which I printed on t-shirt gummy transfer stuff (after flipping all the images.) It was nice. But I don't want to make nice art. So I made it un-nice. It needed color, so I randomly punched it up with my favorite watersoluble oil pastels...that's an oxymoron...they are more like creamy gel crayons that melt when you add water. I look really scrunchy-faced and angry in the piece, which maybe I sometimes am. Anyway, art isn't all about being beautiful or presenting yourself as beautiful, and it doesn't always come out good, or the way you had envisioned it. Or maybe am I red and scrunchy-faced because I am mad about growing older?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Self Portraits and the Inner Critic

One of my favorite thing to do has turned out to be self portraits. My inner critic, who I am sure is really ugly and pointy and skinny and clearly mean, keeps whispering, "Aren't you sick of yourself yet?" and "My, my, aren't we self-abosrbed!" Maybe it just helps clean out the inner demons and keep me semi-sane.

These are two shots of one of my favorite pieces; it looks entirely different viewed from the left than it does from the right. They are all self-portraits, based on photos taken at different ages: kindergarten, highschool, college, young career girl, and recent. The pieces are hinged together with beads and wire, and fold accordion-style, which helps them stand up.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Textile Dots

I have been really busy finishing up a lot of art projects: getting sleeves on three quilts for a fiber arts council of southern california show (no, you don't have to live in California to participate [since I live in NY!]) and trying to make a bunch of art-o-mat blocks (50 of the yellow self-portrait, to be followed by 50 of the red and black energy man) and cards off for a May exchange. whew, I'm worn out. So...I am posting a piece I did a while back.

This was inspired by the cover of a book I got a the Met on textile history. Each little circle contains an original textile design (by me...since I was a textile designer for many years I have tons of designs.) Instead of being my usual free and painterly self, I tried to be really geometric and precise, especially in the quilting. I designed it in QuarkXpress (with art scanned to photoshop) and printed it on Avery printable cotton sheets, which are kind of stiff, but have great color reproduction.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Paper and Carving

I recently made a bunch of ATCs (artist trading cards...same size as a baseball card) for an exchange with my core group of artists. I had a sheet of pastel paper-fabric I made about a year ago that I didn't know what to do with. I tore leftover pieces of recycled colored tissue paper (the stuff that comes tucked into new purchases that you don't quite know what to do with, but can't bear to throw away.) I mixed it with a half glue-half water solution on top of a piece of an old t-shirt. Next I cut it into little pieces and stitched it, but it was still kind of boring. The idea struck me that I should stamp over it, so I took one of my hand-carved stamps and, using a purple commercial stamp pad, plunked a design over the paper collage. I loved it so much I could barely part with them. So, I just finished making a bunch of postcards with a jewel toned piece of tissue collage, with a bigger stamp, done in black. I will keep one for myself this time. Very easy, and and lots of fun.

Monday, April 27, 2009

New Art-O-Mat Designs

I got bored making the same designs for my art-o-mat (artists in cellophane) blocks, so I tested out some new designs. They all got the thumbs up, so now I am off to make 50 of each for my next shipment. Anybody want to vote on which one they like best?