Sunday, March 29, 2015


Shibori with indigo by Alice H.

Today, members of the Fall 2014 Fabric Painting, Printing and Stitching to Tell a Story with Cloth class got together for our first "Stitch-In"! It was a great opportunity to share what we are working on and to stitch and drink tea. Here are some of the pieces that we got to ooo and ahhh at...

Alice H.
Indigo seemed to be the theme of the day! Alice brought in her beautiful shibori piece. Barbara brought along a series of indigo pillows with lovely stitched textures. She has some tutorials about how to make two of these pillows on her blog.

Barbara M.-C.: Indigo pillow

Indigo pillow by Barbara M.-C.

Love this textural detail!

Another pillow by Barbara.

The textures in this fish are just wonderful!

Barbara played with hand and machine stitching and stitched over paper as well.
Even Susan P. brought in indigo pieces to share. She just completed a workshop and had beautiful samples.

One of Susan's indigo samples.

Susan also brought in three completed pieces from her Ancients series.

Susan has named this piece, "CHI".
The tiny stitched details really enhanced the printing on Susan's pieces.
Lots of layers on this piece by Susan. She printed on both cotton and sheer silk fabrics and collaged them together with stitching. (Sorry the color in this photo is not quite right)
I love the hand stitched details in this piece by Susan.

I brought along my Equinox Cloth and Early Spring pieces to stitch on. We are planning to have Stitch-Ins on a regular basis...can't wait for next month!

The next session of Fabric Painting, Printing and Stitching to Tell a Story with Cloth starts on April 22! You too can make amazing stories like the ones above!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Equinox Cloth and Mark Making

I've been stitching away on the Equinox Cloth. It's been calming and meditative. I'm using a variation of the running stitch where there are small stitches on the front of the cloth and larger ones on the back. I'm trying to make parallel rows of these small stitches to see the effect that they make.

I like the gentle puckering of the cloth. I've noticed that the lines of puckering run perpendicular to the lines of stitching. I'm also enjoying the "feel" of the layers of stitched cloth...very solid in my hands.

The back side with the larger stitches is also beautiful in its own way. I used a hand-dyed backing cloth that complements the colors of the tea dyed fabrics on the front side.

Today, I pulled out Helen Parrott's book, Mark Making: Fresh Inspiration for Quilt and Fiber Artists.

I love how Helen Parrott works with simple stitches, such as the running stitch, to build a vocabulary of marks. She is strongly influenced by the marks she sees out in nature and in finding ways to interpret that in stitch. Below are some images from her book.

Some of the students in my Healing Cloth workshop suggested that I consider teaching a class just on embroidery. Many, many years ago, I did teach a series on basic hand stitches and how to manipulate them for different effects. I'm noticing that there is a growing interest in hand stitching again so it might be time to consider offering such a class...perhaps on mark-making and stitch structure. Hmm...ideas are starting to whirl around in my head...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Healing Cloth Workshop

Virginia O.

This weekend I taught my Patching, Stitching, Weaving: Creating Healing Cloth workshop at The Art League School.

It was a really rich, full weekend. Six diligent and fabulous women participated. Two ventured to Alexandria, VA from upstate New York and one from Pennsylvania! All came with open minds and hearts and a willingness to share!

A great deal of progress was made on the Healing Cloths over the two days...we all agreed that we wish there could have been a third day.

Some of the cloths focused on life transitions...

Gail H.

Linda M.

One on a hope for inner peace...

Virginia O.

Another about relationship...

Cheryl C.
Cheryl C.

One about sisterhood and a hope for health...

Ruth T.

And one celebrating surviving cancer...

Judy G.
Judy G.

Thank you Gail, Linda, Virginia, Cheryl, Ruth and Judy for a powerful weekend workshop!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Searching for Roy G Biv #4: Yellow Final Update

Detail of painted dreidel.

It's the third Thursday of the month...time, once again,  to search for Mr. Roy G Biv (the colors of the rainbow)! The color this month is YELLOW.

I decided to focus on YELLOW items in my home. I had some beautiful late afternoon light to play with.

Ornate glass candlestick that belonged to my grandmother.
Flower made by my niece, Poppy.
Detail from stained glass box.
Yellow bead and ladybug box made by my friend, Beth.
Enameled piece by me!
Ceramic container that belonged to my grandmother.

If you'd like to join Jennifer Coyne Qudeen and me this month, post up to five YELLOW photos on your blog and leave a comment here or on Jennifer's blog. We'll link to your post for a colorful blog hop! I'll be updating this post through Saturday midnight Eastern USA time. Hope you join in the fun!

Fiona at Paper Ponderings speaks passionately about her life as an artist and shares YELLOW by a fellow artist.

Mary Ann at Blue Sky Dreaming has mysterious YELLOWS.

Sharmon Davidson has some YELLOW Swallowtails and a woven collage that really sings!

Linda Stokes has a great YELLOW still life of the tools in her studio. Check it out!

Elfi has some gorgeous "jump right out at you " YELLOWS! Love the YELLOW buildings and the shot with the rose.

Eric at Cerulean features a series of his YELLOW collages from a recent exhibit. See how different they look on different color backgrounds.

Here are some additional players...

Jennifer found YELLOW in lots of interesting places. I want those boots!

Maya at Take Diversion has natural and man-made YELLOWS. Love the selection of natural dye materials.

Elizabeth at PGFiber2Art has some cheery YELLOWS. I especially love the Peeps car!

Fran at At the End of the Day found YELLOW all around her (and it made her smile:)).

Margaret at Charlton Stitcher has some very special YELLOWS featuring a solar eclipse! Read about her experience.

Lisa at arzigogolare has jubilant YELLOWS!

A late entry but please be sure to stop by...

Susan at Tracemarks for some stunning YELLOW selections!

Here are the dates for Searching for ROY G BIV Round #4 -2015 (the colors of the rainbow and beyond!):
April 16: Green
May 21: Blue
June 18: Indigo
July 16: Violet
August 20: Brown
September 17: Metallic Gold
October 15: Gray
November 19: Pink
December17: Blogger's Choice

Monday, March 16, 2015

Roy Reminder: Yellow This Thursday

Just a little reminder that this Thursday, March 19th is the next installment of the search for Roy G Biv (the colors of the rainbow). This month's color is YELLOW.

Hope you will join in the fun and post up to 5 YELLOW photos on your blog and leave a comment here or on Jennifer Coyne Qudeen's blog. We'll link to your post for our monthly colorful blog hop!

We always love having new don't be shy!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Seasonal Cloth

It feels great to do some hand stitching. I mostly seem to do it at night in the hours before going to bed.

I'm finding it really relaxing.

Last night, I stitched a bunch on the new Equinox Cloth. I was surprised at how quickly the stitching went. I'm doing Invisible Basting which is really a variation of Running Stitch.

Tiny stitches on the front ...

Larger stitches on the back...

I'm really liking the sturdy feel of the stitched cloth and the subtle texture created by the cloth being slightly gathered by the stitching.

I've also spent some nights working on Early Spring. I'm stitching the border with tiny Back Stitches. This stitch takes time but I'm liking the results. I'm loosely following the printed background design and changing the direction of my stitches with a change in direction in the printed lines. I've been thinking that the stitching reminds me of making rows (furrows) in the dirt to plant seeds...which seems to fit right in with the theme of the piece.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Equinox Cloth

I was inspired today to start a new stitched cloth.

First, there was this piece on Jude Hill's blog. All that dark and light got me thinking about the vernal equinox coming and the balance between light and dark.

Then there is the fact that my Healing Cloth workshop is next weekend...just about the same time as the equinox. It seemed a fitting piece to start.

I've been toying around with placing a lace "mandala" in the center...but haven't found the right one yet.

This is an unusual piece for me..but I'm thinking that I like how it's starting. The tan fabrics were ones that I tea-dyed when I was preparing tea bags for last summer's tea books.

The blue is painted with some subtle resists using salt.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Healing Cloth

My Patching, Stitching, Weaving: Creating Healing Cloth workshop is coming up in a couple of weeks.

In prepping for this workshop, I got inspired by two books. One is by a local quilt artist and the other is a catalog for a show that I wish I could have viewed first-hand. Both are testaments to the healing power and personal meaning that can be found in cloth.

Healing Journey: Quilts About Transformation in the Presence of Cancer by Lauren Kingsland

The quilts presented in this self-published book were first exhibited as a group at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, Washington D.C. The works were inspired by Kingsland's experiences of cancer that she witnessed during her work as a professional visiting artist at the hospital. Each week she offered hands-on quiltmaking and fiber art projects to patients, families/caregivers and hospital staff as "a creative outlet for stress management and community connection". Hundreds of people shared their stories with her "over pieces of bright colored cloth and a needle". (p. 1)

Aloft: 19" x 17"

"A quilt can be a metaphor for putting together the pieces of a situation in an harmonious way. As an artistic medium, a quilt can be a tool for gaining a new perspective on the familiar. Each fabric alone can suggest an idea or evoke a feeling. Put them together in a quilt and often the result is a whole greater than the sum of its parts...." (pg 1)

Beside Still Waters: 29" x 26"

Tender Places: 29" x 26"

Threads of Feeling: The London Foundling Hospitals Textile Tokens, 1740-1770 by John Styles

Styles first started researching the textiles from the Foundling Hospital as a means of learning more about the clothing of ordinary people during the eighteenth century. Surviving garments of working class people were hard to come by and he decided to search instead for surviving textiles. Historians of children's clothing pointed him to the Foundling Textiles with its archive of  "some 5,000 rare, beautiful, mundane and moving scraps of fabric...Britain's largest collection of everyday textiles. They had so much to tell us, not just about the history of fabric and clothing, but also about the lives of women and their babies.." (p. 6)

The hospital was established in 1741 "for the maintenance and education of exposed and deserted young children." (p. 11) (T)he mother retained the right to reclaim the child if her circumstances changed. In practice, such cases were few. Only 152 children were reclaimed out of the 16,282 admitted between 1741 and 1760...two-thirds admitted during these years died.

"The number of children actually reclaimed by their mothers may have been tiny, but ensuring that mothers were able to take their children back was an important priority for the Hospital." (p. 14).

"...the Hospital encouraged mothers to supply a token, which might be a note, a letter, or a small object, to be kept with the billet as an identifier... (p. 15) Great care was taken to take and retain information collected on registration forms (billets) and to preserve the tokens. "An overwhelming majority of the objects attached to the billets are swatches of textiles." (p. 17)

"The Foundling textiles also include many examples of what is clearly non-professional embroidery, often executed in woollen or worsted yarn. What this crude embroidery lacks in skill is sometimes offset by its raw emotional power." (p. 57)

"The hopes of the mothers invested in their babies were also expressed in fabric....such hopes were expressed far more vividly by means of carefully selected textile images, often obtained by customizing the natural imagery commonly employed in designs printed on linens and cottons. An acorn or bud might suggest germination and new growth, a bird or butterfly the chance to fly free, a flower the capacity to blossom and fruit."

...but the most direct expressions of raw maternal emotion found among the Foundling tokens are those that used the heart, the established symbol of love in the eighteenth century...It is fitting that the only token illustrated in this book for a child reclaimed by its mother is a piece of patchwork with a heart sewn on it in red thread. It was subsequently cut in half. One half was presented with the child to the Hospital. The other was, presumably, kept by the mother until the reunion, when the heart was made whole." (pp. 64-70)