Friday, June 24, 2011


11 1/2" x 11 1/2"
completed 6/24/2011
silk & cotton batiks fused and stitched by machine, embellished with buttons & beads

Even though it was a rather sleepy, gray day, I finished "Girasole" for the SAQA auction. Now all I have to do is get it mailed to New Mexico by next Saturday.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Reading Jane

I like to spend a bit of my time surfing around the information highway and reading in the morning. It's like going to school - you learn things. Often I will find some inspiration that will spark the energy for my day. I was checking out the new posts from the blogs I love following and I found the profound body of a lecture by Jane Dunnewold called "What Matters?" I copied it and saved it for future reading. It is deep reading and has so many sparks to fuel the fire of thought that one morning is not enough. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is struggling at all with the "why's" of life. It is written from the perspective of the artist but cuts across all that is human.

I have copied an excerpt below which reads like a checklist of qualities which one would employ to develop a sense of community. I was drawn in to it's functionality and it resonates with my internal search for finding my community.

If we see the good in cultivating community, sharing our gifts, being with people who love what we love, then there are qualities we can foster that will make the experience richer:
These properties create a fertile environment where certain capacities can grow -
Generosity, which is making an offer for its own sake, not for its exchange value
Cooperation - For me to win, you must win.
Statesmanship - setting aside person preferences for the group good.
Forgiveness, which signals a new beginning, and choosing to stay in present time.
An acceptance of imperfection - recognizing that our gifts are intertwined with our limitations and being willing to deal with it, without passing judgment.
Mystery - which creates space for what is unknowable in life, and honors it.

When we work intentionally to foster the above properties and capacities in the
Linkcommunity we are part of, we open the way to a life of satisfaction and creativity."

There is so much more of her lecture that would spark deep internal questioning and thought. I highly recommend reading and re-reading it to anyone who is searching for internal development and clarity. Thank you Jane, for publishing your lecture and if I ever see you listed as a key speaker in the future, you can be sure I will be in the audience.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Scottish Thistle

You never can tell where inspiration will hit you. Every day I pass this spot on the way to get a coffee before getting into work. There is a median strip in a busy access road to a shopping center with a boatload of the real thing - the Scottish Thistle.
I've had puny, weedy thistles growing by accident in my gardens before, but they produce, tiny, uninspired weedy thistles. And I pull them out, very carefully. But a week ago I noticed these babies forming their massive thistle flowers. I knew I just had to take my little camera to work soon to take some shots.
The head on this flower is about 3" in diameter, and the spikes on the leaves and stems are brutal. It was, however, worth spilling a little blood to get these shots and I am looking forward to drawing them.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Falling in love in the garden, once again

My gardens are bursting with color, shape, line and design. Above is a mandevilla which I usually buy in it's common shade of pink. But I was loving the smaller pure red blooms of this strain.
As the flowers prepare to open they create such a lovely shape, star-like. Whenever I see shapes in nature I am reminded of Jane Sassaman, who is a master at drawing her graphic shapes from nature.
Caught in his frenzy of pollen gathering, this bee, one of many, will spend hours hovering in the cat mint. They just love it and will return daily as long as the flowers are blooming.
Canterbury Bells are steeped in my memory as one of the many floral remembrances I have of the gardens around my home as a child. They are such a sunny, happy flower. I just can't help but love them.
But this year I am truly in love. Foxglove is just the most stunningly gorgeous flower. It's shape is sensuous with it's gentle sweep, it's colors vibrant and subtle at the same time and the spots are just mesmerizing.
I feel the seed of a new quilt forming in my head. My mind works, oh so much faster than my hands can.

Just a mention of the SAQA auction which I am sending a piece into. For information follow the link.

Studio Art Quilt Associates' Auction begins on Monday, September 12th at 2:00 pm EST and conclude on Sunday, October 2 at 2:00 pm EST. Price points are: $750, $550, $350, $250, $150 and $75. The funds raised through the Auction are critical to supporting SAQA's exhibitions, catalogs and outreach programs.

For more information on SAQA and what we are all about:

Friday, June 3, 2011

It was a lovely June day today, fair amounts of sun, a light breeze, flowers blooming and lots of time for the studio. Just the way I like it! A couple of days of windy weather have wreaked havoc on my peonies. I just don't know what Mother Nature has against peonies. It's usually soaking rains that destroy them not wind but I can't remember a season where they haven't been wreaked by some errant weather. I had to hold these blooms up to shoot them. I just love this one, white with a touch of red in the center. They grow to be so big.
And this magenta one is the one that was started by my father's mother so very many years ago. My mom took a cutting from it and I took a cutting from my mom. I have transplanted it to three different homes.
I started my day in the studio by petaling out the top sunflower and stitching it down.
I then moved to stitching down the centers of the sunflowers.
And this is my progress for the day. I need to stitch around the front, lower sunflower petals before putting in the petals of the third and last sunflower. Almost done. Should be done with the stitching in a few days. Then I can get into beading it. Very productive and pleasant day in the studio.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

SAQA Auction Piece

It's a bit blurry but you get the idea. My little digital camera is full. I need to go back and purge some pictures. The piece above is the drawing for my SAQA auction piece. I need to bang it out so I can get it off to them by July 2. The name of it is "Girasole" (sunflower in Italian, and also the name of my studio.)
Girasole is 12" x 12" and is being constructed of a silk background, cotton batik backing, poly fil and batik cotton piecing. I will also embellish with buttons and beads when through with the sewing. It's a start and I will keep you posted.