Thursday, February 28, 2013


Who knew that a brilliant concept could be so difficult to manifest.

I have been working through a mental block about the A Story in the Making workshop. I am finding it interesting that the monthly newsletters seem to be a breeze for me but when I sit down to intentionally make pieces of fabric that contain a story, I freeze up.

Not a total freeze, though. I did create many background fabrics (which was fun).

I designed some blocks and carved them.

Piece in process.

I played with creating some freezer paper stencils.

I've been putting some things together.

Piece in process.

It's just an interesting self-observation.

I've been looking at some of the background fabrics that were originally meant to be cut up and used as borders for the printed (pale blue) pages.

In my mind's eye I am imaging folk art portraits on these. Portraits of such things as Oaxacan animal carvings or Mexican masks. This is a spontaneous idea. Not really a story, though.

 Wondering if I'm distracting myself...again!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Story Beginning and Winner Chosen

 After hemming and hawing and painting backgrounds, I finally got down to a bit of printing and painting.

This piece focuses on the sunflower. I've been looking at my book of mud cloths as a jumping off point. Now, however, it seems a bit more Native American.

We shall see where it all goes.

I also have two more pieces that I will be working on.

And now for the winner of the Searching for Roy G Biv II Red Challenge fabric...

Congratulations go to Maya Matthew of Million Little Stitches! Maya please send me an email ( with your mailing address and I will get the fabric off to you. Thanks to all of you who played this month. It was great to have so many new participants. There were some amazing photographs!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Story in the Making: Muses

This weekend, I'm holing myself up in the studio to work on samples for an upcoming class called, A Story in the Making: Creating Story Cloth with Print and Stitch. Unlike most of my classes, which are technique-driven, this class focuses on creating a story...actually letting the story unfold... while working with surface design techniques.

Today, I'm starting with a possible jumpstart for the class. I'm going to ask them to bring in objects that speak to them. This could be any object that catches their attention. I had a look in my china cabinet and these two objects caught my eye...

Stone carving of a rooster and a sunflower that I bought at some point for $24. Quite honestly, I don't remember buying it!
An heirloom. My great grandfather's prayerbook. It's not in the best shape, but I love the carving (bone or ivory), the maroon velvet and metalwork on the cover.

In addition, I want there to be some random element...a little bit of unpredictability. I decided to close my eyes and flip through The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images published by Taschen.

This is the page I landed on...

As I did all of the above last night, I had time to do a bit of brainstorming and connecting the elements and starting a story in my head. I wrote and scribbled sketches (more of that in a future post).

I started to think about the rooster in the stone carving who is most likely to become the protagonist of the story. I thought of Chagall's roosters.

I thought about a book I have on paper cutting (a topic that seems to be swirling around in my head lately) that has some rooster designs.

Then, I realized that there were other roosters and hens lurking about the house.

A wonderful and very colorful mother hen with her chicks stitched on burlap, from Haiti
Two angry roosters embroidered on cotton, from Mexico.

So, now I am gathering my thoughts and heading for the studio.

I want to keep an open mind about the story as I play with the fabric paints, create blocks and stencils and start in.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Searching for Roy G Biv II: Red

Maine strawberry

I spent more time searching through old photos this month as I didn't have much time to go out on a real hunt for RED. Add a bit of creative cropping for some of these and here you have it!

Beaded blouse
My favorite framed print. It hangs in my kitchen.
One of the fabrics I designed for Caos on F Gallery.
Peppers at the Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building, San Francisco.

For those of you new to this monthly game, please post up to five RED photos and make a comment here with a way to link back to your blog, website or flickr page. You have until midnight, Saturday, February 23 to comment. I'll post updates during this time. If you don't have a blog, website or flickr page, send your photos to my email address ( and I will post them here. Remember, this round of Roy we are encouraging tints and if you love pink...go for it!

This is the Challenge Fabric, that will go to a lucky Challenge player. I'll put the names in a hat on Sunday and will post the winner at that time...Good Luck and looking forward to lots of RED!

Check out Roy Challenge co-creator, Jennifer Q's blog for more inspiring REDS.

Fiona at Paper Ponderings has an artistic RED.

Karen Anne Glick has a pinky RED.

India Flint has a walkabout of REDS.

Maya at Million Little Stitches is playing along with some lovely maroon-y REDS.

Lisa at arzigogolare gives us glimpses of RED from her favorite rose garden in Florence. She promises to share more in the days ahead.

Kim Henkel has a beautiful accordion book featuring RED pressed geraniums. Be sure to check it out!

I'm drooling over Susan's yummy REDS.

Deb squeezed in with some last minute the seaglass!

Here are Joan's RED photos:

Plant in the Rainforest Exhibit at the National Zoo.
One of many unbelievable birds in Australia.
Mailbox, Sydney, Australia.
Phone booth, Sydney, Australia.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Coming Up This Week

Just a glimpse of what's coming up this week.

The Searching for Roy G Biv Challenge continues this Thursday with Red. Above is a detail of the Challenge fabric using torn and cut freezer paper masks, brayer rubbings and a dash of metallic paint.

I've also been working on Issue #10 of Julie B Booth Surface Design News. I can't believe it's the tenth issue! This month I designed print blocks using string, twine and clothesline. Here's a little teaser.

Issue #10 comes out this Saturday.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Peace Alphabet: Sketches

Now that the first four letters of my ALAW 2013 Peace Alphabet are complete, I've been sketching out ideas for E, F, G and H.

And while I'm at it, I've been playing around with some other letters.

Just like my hamsa sketches last year, I've found this sketching to be almost a meditation.

One idea leads to another and another.

This is truly a form of relaxation. And I can't help but think that it is in part due to the sketchbook I'm drawing unassuming Composition Book.

I'll admit that from time to time I'm seduced by the beauty of a handmade journal...the loveliness of the paper, the beauty of the meticulous binding. I own a number of these journals. I've even attempted to write and draw in them. But I never seem to find the freedom to doodle and sketch. They seem too precious to me.

My best ideas seem to appear on scraps of paper, sticky notes and the ubiquitous Composition Book.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Hearts, Healing Thoughts

Happy Valentine's Day!

I thought I'd share this piece of fabric which I created for the January issue of Julie B Booth Surface Design News. 

I used my X-acto knife to cut designs out of freezer paper which I ironed onto painted fabric and then painted using a foam dauber.

I really enjoyed cutting the designs within the freezer paper heart shapes. I cut freely without drawing designs with pencil. It was very spontaneous and liberating!

This has given me the urge to try some paper cutting. A blog suggestion by Ersi led me to  the site of papercutter, Beatrice Coron.

On her site you can see many wonderful images. She is a story teller and many of her stories are fantastical! This has me thinking about my  A Story in the Making class coming up next month. I'm looking forward to getting into the studio to make up my own stories.

You can see a TED presentation of Beatrice's work here.

I've just found out that Mary Jane Dodd is recovering from septicemia. Mary Jane is a peace-filled soul. She started the Flags for Peace Project which gave me the chance to honor a friend. I am constantly inspired by her beautiful works of jewelry and poetic words. I hope you will send healing thoughts her way.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Roy Reviewed and Renewed

May 2012 Red Challenge Fabric.Printing with wheat flour paste resist.

We (Jennifer and I) are returning to the beginning. The beginning of Roy G Biv, that is.

June 2012 Orange Challenge Fabric. Adhesive craft foam and hot glue block with nature printing.

We are starting fresh with another round...starting with RED. Are you Red-dy to play? Don't know the rules? You'll find them here.

I'm challenging you this round to think about tints and shades. Perhaps some pale pinks and deep maroons this month?

July 2012 Yellow Challenge Fabric. Background toothpick block. Flowers carved Speedy Carve blocks.

As usual, I will be offering a challenge fabric each month. Just a little incentive to get you motivated to pick up your camera and start your search. In this post, you'll see all the challenge fabrics from the past search for Roy.

August 2012 Green Challenge Fabric. Carved radishes and green peppers.
September 2012 Blue Challenge Fabric. This is a Peace flag honoring my friend Martha. Adhesive craft foam and carved Speedy Carve blocks.
October 2012 Indigo Challenge Fabric. Background texture brayer rubbing overprinted with carved Speedy Carve blocks.
November 2012 Violet Challenge Fabric. Torn freezer paper masks with stenciling and hand painted details.
December 2012 White Challenge Fabric. Rolled and sliced gift wrapped glued to cardboard.
January 2013 Black & White Challenge Fabric. Carved Mastercarve Blocks based on African Designs. Adinkra symbol for strength.

Post your RED photos on Thursday, February 21 (the third Thursday). Can't wait to see what you find.