Friday, October 24, 2014

Multiplicities:New Directions in Fiber

Tonight was the artist reception for an exciting juried exhibit of textiles at the IMAGO Foundation for the Arts Gallery in Warren, RI. Called "Multiplicities: New Directions in Fiber" it was a show with a broad range of work within the textile field. Works pushing the boundaries of embroidery, weaving, quilting, felting, and dyeing were mixed with sculptural forms utilizing some very interesting materials such as seaweed, plastic bottle caps, thorny branches and pine needles. The opening reception was very well attended and the gallery is spacious, bright, easy to find, and the show was extremely well curated and hung.

My husband Tony took this shot of Allison Wilbur, who lives very near the gallery, and myself. We had a lovely time walking through the show discovering the many interesting secrets within each piece. SAQA members were well represented in this show with pieces from Natalya Aikens, Betty Busby, Nancy Bardach, Wen Redmond and Marianne Williamson. 

Hanging behind Allison and myself, detail to the right is a woven piece called "1364 Threads Pulled One at a Time" by Debbie Barrett-Jones. My terrible old digital camera does it no justice. Beautifully dyed warp threads were pulled to create tension and texture and through the middle of the piece you saw only the warp threads hanging. It really was captivating and won a Juror Award. The Juror for this amazing show was Elin Noble, a textile artist and SAQA member who lives in the MA/RI region.

Another captivating piece was done by Marianne Williamson. My camera again, does this no justice. It is literally covered with multicolored thread, fabric and paint. Allison and I spent a good amount of time soaking it all in. You can see other works by Marianne on her website at:

This piece was created by New York artist, Natalya Aikens. I have loved watching the progression of Natalya's work over the past few years. She has a finely tuned understanding of architecture and a playful hand with unusual materials and color. Made primarily of plastics, "Sunset" screamed with innovation and pure excitement. You can view her work on her website:

My husband Tony was as enthralled by this piece by Betty Busby as I was. "Dichotomy" is rich with colorful dyed fabrics and a wildly flowing structure of stitching which punctuates and defines both minute and large areas. The colorplay and stitching skillfully seems to undulate areas of the piece so that it creates depth and movement. A master, you will find more of Betty's work on her website at:

If you would like to see this exhibition it is showing at the IMAGO Foundation for the Arts Gallery, at 36 Market St. in Warren, RI 02885. This show runs now through November 8. Gallery hours are Thursdays from 4-8pm, Fridays & Saturdays from noon to 8pm and Sundays from 10am to 2pm. You will find information about the gallery and this show at their website:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

New Additions

45" x 43 1/2"
September, 2014
Commercial fabrics, batiks, silks, hand-dyes, beads;
Fused and machine stitched and quilted

After many months of work, Queen Bee is finally finished. She was finished in time to make the "Food For Thought" call for entry for SAQA but I have received word that she was not accepted into this exhibit. She will be offered as an entry into the first show which comes along that suits her. I truly enjoyed every minute of working on Bee and especially loved working on seeing the bees come to life.

Left and below are my details of this vibrant piece. 
I was very lucky this summer to acquire a few new additions to my workspace which have made life both easier and more difficult.


Four tiny kittens were found under our deck off the studio. My bleeding heart just could not leave them to the coyotes, so I scooped them into the one room in the house that did not already have a cat in studio. Because they come from a feral mom, I have to make sure that they aren't carrying a fatal disease to my other cats. They are about 5 months old now. Ready to be tested, fixed and assimilated. Casey went to a new home right away but I still have one female who needs adopting. The two mischievous males will stay with me.

This is my new baby, a Handi Quilter Sweet 16. It was used gently and the table wings were lovingly devised by the previous owner's handy husband. Runs like a dream and look at the neck. It is not 6" like my Bernina but a whopping 16". I'm in heaven.

However, nothing is easy. The cord running from the computer to the machine became an instant issue. The kittens loved the tent I made for them with fabric to cover the machine and chewed through that cord. IN TWO DAYS! It took me over a week to get a replacement cord to the tune of $39.00 and three kittens got a very stern finger wagging.

Now after every use I disconnect the computer, wrap it in bubble wrap and store it in a drawer. An old box from my daughter's exercise equipment is just the right size to cover the machine and keep curious kittens out. They are having the best time shredding the box. 

Another new purchase was necessary for two reasons: the first was to prevent fading for my blue and green stash which was kept in the open on shelves; the second was to keep the kittens out of it. I found an old black cupboard in an antique shop close by and it was on sale. It is deep and has three shelves but more importantly, it has doors and like my armoire, I can shut the light and the cats out. 

The shelves were put to use housing all my art books some of which were actually still in boxes with no functional place to land. Now not only do they have a nice neat place to be but I can access them easily when I need some information or inspiration. 

From August 20 to September 20 my piece called "Nancy's Garden" was hanging at the Whistler House & Museum in Lowell. This was the first exhibition I have been able to attend the open house.   

Just a sampling of how amazingly colorful and beautiful the show was.

As I had mentioned in a prior post, this spring I became involved in the SAQA MA/RI Regional exhibition committee. I worked pretty hard along with Sue Bleiweiss and decided that I would become a Co-Rep along with Sue and Maryann Gallaher. So I am now a Co-Rep for SAQA and we have so many things going on in our region. Two exhibitions are planned, a regional trunk show is being assembled, the 25th Anniversary Trunk Show is coming to our November meeting, we have a new regional portfolio printed, we have begun a mentorship program and we are doing outreach and workshop planning for 2015 and 2016. To read about all that is going on in MA/RI you can access info from our blog at:

After a small pod meeting in September, Rhode Island members Barbara Chojnacki, Carol Kaufman and I took a selfie at a quilt show in Wakefield, RI. Not only will the SAQA 25th Anniversary Trunk Show be traveling to Amherst, MA for our quarterly meeting November 15, but it will be traveling to Westerly for a meeting of the Ninegret Quilt Guild on January 13. I will be speaking at this meeting both about SAQA and about my own process.

At our SAQA quarterly meeting in September, two demos were given by Vicki Jensen, owner of Pro Chem & Dye in Fall River followed by a hands-on afternoon. Vats of indigo were set up for shibori dyeing and a table was set up for experimenting with gelli printing.

It really was an enjoyable afternoon and we were able to take home our experiments to use in our own projects. The next meeting will take place at the UU Society of Amherst, 121 North Pleasant St. in Amherst, MA from 10am to 2pm There will be demos on simple silk screen methods by Cheryl Rezendes and a demo on the cradle board technique for mounting quilts by Jeanne Marklin. If you live west of Worcester, this will be a fantastic meeting as well.

Sue Bleiweiss was the originator of our SAQA regional mentorship program. I decided to be a mentor to one person who needs help developing their voice and also to be someone's protegee for the business end of being an artist. My blog posts will be getting more regular and will morph a bit into offering my readers something besides a journal of my ramblings. My next post will be about setting goals.

So along those lines, some goals I have been setting and trying to keep for a couple of years have had to do with creating more artwork, getting it out into exhibitions and building that all important body of work. Continuing along those lines I have plans for four or more new quilts to be completed within the next six months.

I have been working and reworking this one for so many years. It is finally time to finish this thing. "Peter and the Wolf" is getting stitched. In the picture to the right you can see two wolves. The wolf on the far right puckered terribly because I stitched it to muslin without adding batting or stabilizer. Dumb move on my part. So I redid him and he is already adhered to the background and almost completely stitched. Pictures to follow in another post.

The next quilt I will be taking on is my large flying dragon. Originally worked for a really large quilt, "Crazy Eights" has been redrawn and resized to a more manageable size. This one will be created within my style but I am pushing the envelope a bit with some unusual and fun designer silks and I will be experimenting with relief work a bit.

Both these pieces have to be completed and photographed for the SAQA show "Wild Fabrications" call for entry by January 31, 2015.

This is just the very beginning of a drawing of a piece I am doing for the exhibition "Art As Quilt" at the Fuller Craft Museum. The name on this one is "Empress of the Pines". Behind her I will do another drawing of tree trunks with light passing through and that will be her background. Her hair is white pine needles. Her dress which I have only begun to embellish is full of pine cones which blend into bark. Curling behind her to the front will be a fawn at the bottom of the imagery. Her colors will be ochres, browns, rich greens, golds and coppers with just a touch of red violet. Another in the series of nature royalty, the Empress will be constructed similarly to Mariposa and Queen Bee.

So that brings you up to date in my world. I will be posting more shots of these three quilts as I begin to cut fabrics and stitch. And there are a couple more that will be coming into light very soon.