Sunday, April 28, 2013

Peace Alphabet So Far

I've been sketching more letters tonight for the Peace Alphabet (A Letter A Week 2013).

I decided to line up what I have so far.

Still more to come...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Keeping Constant

Letters I and J for the Peace Alphabet (A Letter A Week 2013)

This week I've been grateful for having monthly projects to keep me on track.

Cut paper designs for Julie B Booth Surface Design News.

These small monthly constants have kept me anchored during some difficult moments.

Searching for Roy G Biv Challenge Fabric.

I've also been grateful for friends who listen.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Playing with Black & White

I've been working on the next issue of Julie B Booth Surface Design News. Believe it or not, it's been a whole year since I published the first issue!

Some of you might know that I've had a recent fascination with cut paper art. I've manage to collect a few books and have admired the intricate, sometimes delicate artworks created by the talented artists who work with this medium.

This month's newsletter is focusing on black and white and the Japanese concept of Notan, which literally means, dark-light. I've been spending lots of time in the studio this week cutting and pasting. It's been great fun and quite surprising!

I'm off to do some more work on the's coming out this Saturday...gotta get crackin'!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Winner Chosen for Yellow Challenge Fabric

Congratulations go out to Kim (Letting in the Light)! Your name was drawn from the baseball cap this morning. I hope you enjoy this fat quarter of hand printed fabric. I was particularly pleased with how this one came out.

Kim, please send me an email with your mailing address and I will get the fabric off in the mail to you soon. (

Thanks to all of you who played along this month. I was truly inspired by your selection of yellows. By the way, if you haven't seen Lisa's second installment of's a mouth watering one!

I hope you all will play along next month. Get your cameras out and about to search for GREEN (tints and shades appreciated). Be sure to post next month's photos on Thursday, May 16th (don't worry I'll remind you!).

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Searching for Roy G Biv II: Yellow (Friday Morning Update)

I'm looking forward to seeing the YELLOWS you'll be posting today as the search for the colors of the rainbow continues.

Love these crazy pieces of farm equipment! Very inspirational YELLOW from Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Interesting shadows.
Theses words painted on a building in Harrisonburg conjured up YELLOW.
I inherited this old jar from my grandmother. It has a satiny patina.
An art piece from Alex Lockwood using recycled lottery tickets.
Up close in the garden. The design in the center in the shape of tulips!
Gourds from the local farm stand photographed last October.
YELLOWS orchids from the Farmer's Market in San Francisco.

To play along, just post a comment here and let me know that you have some YELLOW to share. I'll be updating this post throughout the day and will link to your blog. If you do not have a blog, feel free to send me your photos in an email and I will post them here. I'll be updating this post until midnight (Eastern U.S.A. time) Saturday, April 20.

Here is this month's Challenge fabric: A full fat quarter! I used a salt resist and overprinted with moldable foam and carved blocks. In order to have a chance to win this fabric, you must play along. Drawing for the fabric will be on Sunday, April 21st.

To see more YELLOW, visit Jennifer Coyne Qudeen's blog.

Maya at Million Little Stitches found YELLOW all around her this month.

Fiona at Paper Ponderings is pondering a quote in her weekly Thursday Thoughts. Her YELLOW contribution this month is a Braille bus stop sign!

Deb at SaltBushStitch takes us for a walk around her neighborhood with YELLOW highlights (I'm in love with the pale YELLOW stones!)

Check out the YELLOWS from Margaret over at her blog Charlton Stitcher. Love that last photo and the pipes in primary colors.

Be sure to take a look at Karen Anne Glick's YELLOW Pinterest  Board.

Kim Henkel at Letting in the Light has a buttery YELLOW journal to share along with some subtle YELLOW still lifes.

Lisa at arzigogolare has stacks of Nancy Drew YELLOW and an audio from U2 (which I'm enjoying as I type these words) and this is just the first YELLOW installment!

Susan at Tracemarks has the happiest YELLOW tin with cats!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Working on Peace

Detail of Yellow Challenge Fabric.

 Here is a sneak peek of the YELLOW Challenge fabric. Yes, the Search for Roy continues tomorrow. Hope to see lots of YELLOW out there.

I've been continuing to carve the Peace Alphabet blocks for A Letter A Week 2013. It's helped a bit to focus on Peace during another difficult week in the U.S.

I feel a deep connection to Boston. I moved to the Boston area in 1979 right after graduating from college. I met my husband in Cambridge, Mass (on the other side of the Charles River) and we bought our first house in Billerica. My Mom's family is from Boston and I still have cousins who live in Medford.

On the news, I heard a mother whose 29 year old daughter had died, say..I just don't understand...

I don't either.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Peace Alphabet Prints

The letters E and F.
I got back into the studio this afternoon and printed a few of the new letters for the Peace Alphabet for A Letter A Week 2013.

E, F, G, L. I'll be working on H, I, J and K this week.

A flock of "L"s

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Happy Violets and Elements of Design

 I went for a long walk this afternoon. Spring is really and truly here.

I love this time of year. The baby leaves are just starting to emerge and every where you look...violets!

I know that some may think of them as a weed...popping up in the pristine green grass...but to me they are so cheery. It reminds me of when I was young and my mom would always buy the domesticated version--Johnny Jump-ups! I spotted these white and violet versions on my walk. It just cheered me up.

This morning, I was across the river in Maryland to see a lecture by quilt artist and teacher, Carol Soderlund. She was giving the program at this month's  Potomac Fiber Arts Guild meeting. I don't normally get to the meeting; I'm often teaching a workshop. But the workshop didn't fill and I decided to head on over, especially when I heard the topic: The Fifteen Elements of Design based on architect, Christopher Alexander's writings.

I've only just recently been introduced to Mr. Alexander, thanks to Lisa McGarry over at arzigogolare. She has been blogging regular installments about some of his design principles from his book, A Pattern Language, and then going about Florence to record visual representations of those principles. It's been very enlightening.

Christopher Alexander was not happy with the architecture popping up in the 1960s and so decided to examine and analyze objects that he considered beautiful to figure out what it was about them that made them beautiful. After examining thousands of objects, he distilled his findings down to fifteen elements of design. Carol Soderlund used quilts from Quilt National 2012 to illustrate all fifteen principles. It was a beautiful, colorful and educational program. It got me wondering if I think enough about design principles when I work.

It was something to contemplate while on my walk this afternoon.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Peace Alphabet: Making Some Progress

I am finally back in the studio and making some progress on the Peace Alphabet for A Letter A Week 2013.

I spent a good deal of yesterday transferring designs and carving blocks, as my pile of shavings can attest to.

I'm using Speedball Speedy Stamp or Speedy Carve (both names are the same product). It you haven't tried this product, it is VERY easy to carve and you can make very detailed block designs. I use this product all the time and am very happy with the results when using the blocks to print on fabric.

Letters E, F, G and L are now carved with designs for J and K now transferred onto blocks.

Tuesday, while gallery sitting, I had a little brainstorm for the letter I. I'll be doing the final drawing today and for the letter H, as well.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll have enough time today to finish carving all four blocks.

This weekend I'll get some printing done. I'm rethinking the process a bit. I plan to carve and print all the alphabet letters onto fabric and then do the stitching, rather than print and stitch as I go. The stitching takes time but is also portable. Once the letters are all printed, I can take some time to stitch the details. Click here to see finished letters A thru D.

Then I have to figure out what to make with all these little Patches of Peace!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Trash Talk and Roy Reminder

Yesterday, I did my monthly gallery sit at Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery at the Torpedo Factory Arts Center. One of the other galleries, Target Gallery, was setting up a new show called Trash Talk.

Although the gallery itself was closed for installation (got a peek and can't wait to get a closer view), some pieces were installed out in the big open hallway at the Factory.

Two pieces by Alex Lockwood caught my eye...

The first was an installation of what looked like cactus blooming or sea anemones.

These intricate pieces are made from lottery tickets!

The other installation was a bit more interactive. Strings of bottle caps were suspended from the ceiling. By gently pulling on a cord, you could make them move and rattle.

Ingenious ways to recycle trash!

The rainbow colors used in these two pieces is also a reminder that Thursday, April 18th is the next installment of Roy G Biv...searching for the colors of the rainbow. This month's color is YELLOW. If you're new to this challenge click here for more information. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Healing Humble Cloth

This evening I decided to finally patch my favorite, comfortable jeans.

I was inspired by India Flint's book, Second Skin: Choosing and Caring for Textiles and Clothing. It's a beautiful book. The photography is amazing. You can almost feel the textures! I will go into more detail about this book in another post. Just know that I was thinking about those lovely stitched and patched pieces of cloth when I sat down to stitch my own humble pair of jeans.

Such a large tear called for two layers of patching. I found some indigo dyed ikat cotton and stitched a patch to the inside first.

I then created a patch to fit directly over the tear. I wanted it to match the colors of the jeans as closely as possible.

After ladder stitching around the edges of the patch. I did running stitch all the way around and then decided to do rows of running stitch across the patch.

The layers were soft and easy to stitch through, even though positioning my hands to stitch was sometimes awkward.

The finished patch. I like the quilted feel of it. It seems pretty sturdy.

Friday, April 5, 2013


I spent a couple of days this week organizing and putting to bed a ten year journey.

From 2002 to 2012, my friend Martha Hill and I collaborated on a project.

We turned the library at my synagogue into an art space.

We had 61 exhibitions.

We showed the work of 39 different artists/exhibitors.

We learned a lot about displaying work with bare bones equipment.

We got to meet/talk to many artists and learn about their work and hopes.

We got to share beauty and information with our fellow congregants.

And during this time Martha and I got to be good friends. We got the chance to share our own art and dreams with each other.

I think Martha would be impressed by this notebook filled with the descriptions of all 61 exhibitions, with the list of artists. This notebook contains many shared memories.

Now, I am passing it along to a new librarian. She seems young and eager. I hear that she is also an artist. I am hoping that she will add her own pages to this notebook.

So dear friend, Martha, I couldn't help but add a little dedication to you when the compilation was complete.

I'm smiling...I'm ready to pass this on...

Thursday, April 4, 2013


I've been saving these orchid blossoms.

They are a whispery white.

Fragile paper.

I plan to sit with them and sketch.